By: Kellie Pavlish, M.Ed, LPCC
2 words... Social Media. When you hear those 2 words many thoughts may come to the forefront of your mind. There certainly are many advantages to being a part of the social media world, keeping in touch with distant relatives, sharing pictures of your growing children, just to name a few.
While at the same time there is growing research in the mental health field that is being conducted surrounding the connection between social media and its impact on self esteem, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.
While engaging in social media you can find yourself comparing your own life, relationships, accomplishments, and physical appearance, to the pictures and posts of others on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Many can relate to having the inner dialogue of "I am not as attractive as him or her. They have more "likes". They seem to be in a happy, satisfying marriage. I wish I had enough money to take that vacation." These thoughts and social comparisons can influence both depressive and anxiety symptoms and feed perfectionism.
It can be helpful to remind ourselves that we are comparing based on our own filtered perceptions and interpretations of others based on pictures and words. Versus we truly don't know one's life, relationships, and experiences.
We can choose to get curious about our relationship with social media, what benefits does it bring to our life, and what costs do we observe. Individuals often will report taking a hiatus from social media if they find it is negatively impacting their mood and self esteem, and observe their mood during the hiatus. Or individuals will work to balance time spent on social media, with time spent improving their own self esteem and goals for personal growth.
Social media can impact everyone differently, you can adopt a curious mind and make healthy decisions for yourself and your mental well being.
If you are in need of mental health counseling, please reach out to our associates at Behavioral Health Services of Greater Cleveland at one of our two locations: Rocky River and Medina. Family, individual, and couples counseling are available. Please call (866) 466-9591 ext. 0 for an intake.