The Truth About Social Media and Its Impact On Both Mental & Spiritual Health
~ February 2, 2024
One day you’ll wake up and realize (if you haven’t already). That “The great digitization of human experience & relationship”, i.e., “Social media” is where it all went off track.
It happened so subtly that we never felt the full brunt of it until now. They (big tech) succeeded in virtualizing and subsequently monetizing our most precious assets of humanness. Our spontaneity, authenticity & life force energy itself.
More connectivity, yet disconnected on the soul level more than ever. I knew it was happening. I think we all did. Perhaps in our loneliness we let it.
I’ve met so many beautiful souls on social media, people I’d love to have coffee with, hike with, ride on the back of my motorcycle or just have an innocent, deep conversation with.
Yet digitization, that bittersweet technology that was able to connect and cross the great divide has teased our souls and left many of us feeling even more alone and disconnected than ever.
Social media can disrupt mental and spiritual health in various ways, contributing to a range of psychological and emotional challenges:
- Social Comparison and Envy: Social media often presents an idealized version of people’s lives, showcasing their achievements, experiences, and possessions. Constant exposure to these curated representations can lead to social comparison, where individuals measure their own lives against these unrealistic standards, fostering feelings of inadequacy, envy, and low self-esteem.
- Cyberbullying and Harassment: The anonymity afforded by social media platforms can encourage cyberbullying and online harassment. Individuals may face offensive comments, threats, or other forms of digital aggression, leading to significant emotional distress, anxiety, and in severe cases, depression.
- Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): Social media platforms often emphasize the activities and events that others are participating in, creating a fear of missing out (FOMO). This fear can contribute to anxiety, as individuals feel pressured to constantly stay connected and engaged to avoid feeling left out or socially isolated.
- Addiction and Distraction: The addictive nature of social media, designed to keep users scrolling and engaged, can contribute to excessive screen time. This constant connectivity can lead to disrupted sleep patterns, reduced productivity, and increased stress levels, negatively impacting overall mental well-being.
- Negative Body Image: Social media is a platform where body image ideals are often perpetuated. Exposure to images of perfect bodies, beauty standards, and filtered photos can contribute to body dissatisfaction, eating disorders, and poor self-image, particularly among vulnerable demographics.
- Filter Bubbles and Polarization: Social media algorithms often curate content based on users’ preferences, creating filter bubbles where individuals are exposed to information that aligns with their existing beliefs. This can contribute to polarization, as people may become less exposed to diverse perspectives and more entrenched in their own worldview, leading to increased social tension and anxiety.
- Information Overload and Stress: The constant influx of information on social media can be overwhelming, contributing to information overload and increased stress levels. Keeping up with the fast-paced nature of online content can lead to heightened anxiety and a sense of being constantly “plugged in.”
What Social Media platforms hope you’ll never “get” is this…
Social Media just like traditional news is predominately programmed to keep you in a state of mild to moderate dis-ease. Why? In this state of mild to moderate anxiety you are more susceptible and impressionable to adverts and messages that prompt you to consume or partake of something you don’t have already. A product, an idea, or anything being sold that touts its ability to make you more whole, complete and secure.
Blatant, Systematic Suppression of Inspiring & Wholesome Content
Humans have a natural tendency to pay more attention to negative information. This phenomenon, known as negativity bias, means that people are more likely to remember and be affected by negative posts. Just like mainstream news media has always done, Social Media platforms prioritize stories that are sensational, dramatic, or controversial because the bottom line is that they generate more views, engagement and longer screen time.
They do not want you feeling whole and complete. Whole and complete humans are living life in the real world and not staring into their phones for hours on end.
Recognizing these challenges and fostering a balanced and mindful approach to social media use is crucial for maintaining positive mental health in the digital age. It involves setting boundaries, practicing digital detoxes, and being aware of the potential negative impacts on well-being.