Menu Close

Social Media and Its Effect on Mental Health

by Kaitlyn Rose

Growing up we all heard the same thing: too much TV and video games will rot your brain. But how does that concept translate to the effect of social media?

Social media is almost a necessity at this point, in terms of a small-scale social life as well as keeping up with the goings on of the world. We find out what our friends and family are up to, we post our opinions on what a celebrity said or did this week, we hear from all sides of the spectrum about the latest in a long string of global tragedies.

No longer do we have to turn on channel 5 or pick up a newspaper; as soon as we light up our phones in the morning, it’s plastered for miles down our newsfeeds and we stare at it like a bad car crash.

Suddenly what Aunt Cheryl ate for dinner last night doesn’t seem so important. Social media has let us engage with one another on important issues in a way that wasn’t quite possible fifteen years ago. But when does the oversaturation of information become detrimental to mental health?

Annie Miller, a licensed cognitive behavioral therapist notes that constant exposure to the negativity of the disaster reporting of the news, even if we’re not actively engaging with it, can impact our brain. We are met with crises after crises, which activate the sympathetic nervous system—the concept of fight or flight. And sitting behind a screen, many chose the virtual fight.

So on top of the vicious 24-hour news cycle, we have Uncle Terry spouting off ignorant, uninformed nonsense from the comfort of his favorite recliner.

Disaster news sparks a lot of hate in people that can only come from a certain level of anonymity. We are all trying to protect ourselves and our loved ones, hopped up on adrenaline and cortisol, and need to get the last word in. Make sure we win the fight against whatever the threat may be.

The fear of the worst can cause the physical symptoms of depression and anxiety such as fatigue and trouble sleeping. It’s not a far fetched concept that, to oversimplify things, constantly looking at sad things will make us sad. But why? A study by Graham Davey, a professor of psychology at Sussex University, explains that, once again, evolutionary instincts are at play. We want to be constantly aware of potential danger so we can keep ourselves safe. “Our brains are predisposed to go negative”, Davey says, which is why we are more likely to focus on the horrors of the world than Aunt Cheryl’s beautiful pot roast dinner.

So how do we cope with all this information? Is it just a lost cause because our brains want the junk food so we must feed it to them? No! We have this fun little thing called will power.

Growing up we all heard the same thing: too much TV and video games will rot your brain. But how does that concept translate to the effect of social media?

Social media is almost a necessity at this point, in terms of a small-scale social life as well as keeping up with the goings on of the world. We find out what our friends and family are up to, we post our opinions on what a celebrity said or did this week, we hear from all sides of the spectrum about the latest in a long string of global tragedies.

No longer do we have to turn on channel 5 or pick up a newspaper; as soon as we light up our phones in the morning, it’s plastered for miles down our newsfeeds and we stare at it like a bad car crash.

Suddenly what Aunt Cheryl ate for dinner last night doesn’t seem so important. Social media has let us engage with one another on important issues in a way that wasn’t quite possible fifteen years ago. But when does the oversaturation of information become detrimental to mental health?

Annie Miller, a licensed cognitive behavioral therapist notes that constant exposure to the negativity of the disaster reporting of the news, even if we’re not actively engaging with it, can impact our brain. We are met with crises after crises, which activate the sympathetic nervous system—the concept of fight or flight. And sitting behind a screen, many chose the virtual fight.

So on top of the vicious 24-hour news cycle, we have Uncle Terry spouting off ignorant, uninformed nonsense from the comfort of his favorite recliner.

Disaster news sparks a lot of hate in people that can only come from a certain level of anonymity. We are all trying to protect ourselves and our loved ones, hopped up on adrenaline and cortisol, and need to get the last word in. Make sure we win the fight against whatever the threat may be.

The fear of the worst can cause the physical symptoms of depression and anxiety such as fatigue and trouble sleeping. It’s not a far fetched concept that, to oversimplify things, constantly looking at sad things will make us sad. But why? A study by Graham Davey, a professor of psychology at Sussex University, explains that, once again, evolutionary instincts are at play. We want to be constantly aware of potential danger so we can keep ourselves safe. “Our brains are predisposed to go negative”, Davey says, which is why we are more likely to focus on the horrors of the world than Aunt Cheryl’s beautiful pot roast dinner.

So how do we cope with all this information? Is it just a lost cause because our brains want the junk food so we must feed it to them? No! We have this fun little thing called will power.

Sources

https://www.verywellmind.com/is-watching-the-news-bad-for-mental-health-4802320

https://time.com/5125894/is-reading-news-bad-for-you/

0

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *