(HealthyResearch.com) – Social media has become a regular part of our daily routines. According to the most recent Pew research poll, 72% of Americans regularly use at least one social media outlet, with the majority of users frequenting YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
These venues can be a great place to connect with others, even allowing us to make friends across the world, but they can also have lasting negative effects. Need some convincing? Here are some reasons you should consider unplugging every once in a while.
Social Media Can Tank Your Self-Esteem
A group of studies compiled at the University of Toronto examined the relationship between self-esteem and social media. Researchers found most people negatively compare themselves to others’ Facebook and Instagram images. This can have profound effects on mood and personal outlook. Instead of comparing yourself to others, why not celebrate your uniqueness? Stop comparing and judging yourself against others and focus on your strengths and areas of creativity to rebuild your confidence and self-esteem.
Social Media Can Become Addictive
Who would’ve guessed back in 2004, when Facebook experienced its initial, limited launch, that the social networking site would grow into a community of over 500 million users worldwide? Almost as incredible is that about half of all Facebook users log on daily. This might not be a problem for people who jump on for a few minutes here and there, but for some people, frequenting Facebook and other social media sites can spiral into an addiction.
The Addiction Center explains that receiving positive notifications can send rushes of pleasure-inducing dopamine through the brain. This can rewire a person to seek out likes, retweets and other responses, which can become especially problematic when users turn to social media as a way to cope with stress or loneliness. People who become addicted to social media can suffer emotional withdrawal-like symptoms, such as anxiety and depression. If you suspect you’ve become addicted to social media, try unplugging for a while or consult an addiction professional for help. Breaking this (or any) addiction can be extremely challenging.
The Political Front Has Become Overwhelming
Politics have gotten crazy over the recent years. Whether current headlines have your blood boiling, or you find yourself fighting a panic attack each time a certain issue comes up, you’re not alone. You’re not the only one who’s had it with all the political memes and negative comments. According to a different Pew research poll, 46% of U.S. residents are feeling “worn out” over political posts, and 68% would describe social media politics as “stressful and frustrating.” Regardless of which side of the line you support, you need a break from the noise every once in a while.
People Need Physical Interaction
Humans are social beings. We have an innate need to create meaningful connections with other people. A study from the Department of Sociology and Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin on social relationships determined friends, family, spouses and community each had effects on physical and mental health. Emotional support can affect the nervous system, immune and metabolic function, and it may reduce stress levels on the heart. Social media interaction might give your brain a quick fix, but physical interaction can have lasting physical and emotional effects. So go ahead, step away from the virtual world and focus on the people right in front of you for a week or two.
When was the last time you took a social media break? Do yourself a favor and log off for a while. Facebook and Instagram will always be there, although if you unplug long enough, you might find you’re better off without them.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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