Depression is not something that is easy to talk about, and I understand if this is hard for some to read about. Understand that you are not alone in this fight, and there are so many people that may not understand exactly what you’re going through, but they will listen.
To begin this week, I want to introduce you to a news blog called Depression News From Medical News Today. This blog has many different articles that they have published related to depression, but there is one of their most recent blogs that I want to share with you. I believe that it really speaks to our generation.
The article was published on November 15 2018, titled New evidence that social media increases loneliness. I think this title is a dead giveaway to what that article will be about. I’m sure you can agree that social media KILLS your mental health. It makes you feel as if you’re not good enough because these other women are so dang pretty. It makes you feel alone because even through there are millions of people in this world, no one understands you. It is not healthy!
In this article, researchers from Melissa G. Hunt’s research team looked at the three biggest platforms of social media: Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. This study included 143 undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania. They each completed a survey to determine their baseline mood and well-being at the start of the study, and they supplied a week’s worth of data from their phones to demonstrate their current social media habits. The participants were assigned to one of two groups. The first group was instructed to continue using social media as they normally would and the second group was asked to limit their use of Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram to just 10 minutes a day for each platform. Over three weeks, the participants made their smartphone data available to researchers and they examined the participants anxiety, depression, loneliness, and fear of missing out. After three weeks, the results showed that the group who reduced their social media use experienced significant decrease in depression and loneliness. These effects were “particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study.”
Based on their findings, Hunt offered advice for social media users who may be worried about the effect that these platforms could have on their well-being: “When you’re not busy getting sucked into clickbait social media, you’re actually spending more time on things that are more likely to make you feel better about your life. In general, I would say, put your phone down and be with the people in your life.”
Social media is so much more powerful than we realize. I think this study really made participants step back and see how toxic social media really is. When we look at Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, I think that many of us really feel like everyone else has such a better life than we do. We really believe that we have such a terrible life because we aren’t on the beach for 26 weeks out of the year. We think that because we aren’t spending tons of money going shopping every weekend that we aren’t “blessed” with some of the greatest things. We really put ourselves down. Sometimes, all you need to do is put that phone down, open your eyes, and really see that the most important things in your life is mental health, family, and your relationships with others.