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How to protect your mental health while using social media

How to protect your mental health while using social media


Now more than ever, our business and personal lives seem entwined with social media, from Twitter and Facebook to TikTok and Instagram. While these platforms can be a great way to keep in touch with family and friends across the globe and find new clients and customers, they’re also linked to poorer mental health.


If you’ve ever found yourself negatively comparing yourself to people online, whether regarding physical appearance, lifestyle, or achievements, you’ll know what we’re talking about. Of course, while it’s natural to want to fit in, social media represents a filtered form of reality that never shows a holistic view of someone’s life, leading us to buy into a warped version of reality.


Plenty of studies back up a lot of our intuitive feelings about social media, including the papers: Social Media Use and Its Connection to Mental Health: A Systematic Review and Social Media Use and Mental Health: A Global Analysis. To summarise, the more we use social media, the more depressed, anxious, and addicted we’ll likely get.


However, there are ways to protect ourselves while enjoying the sense of connectivity social media brings. For starters, actively using platforms to post content is less likely to cause mental harm than just scrolling or reading other users’ content (Nereim et al., 2020). Here are some other ideas that may help: 

  • Reduce overall usage by setting daily app limits to break the scrolling habit. Or delete them from your phone or tablet so you only use them on your browser.
  • Protect your space by switching off notifications and banning phones at certain times, such as while eating meals or watching television.
  • Communicate face-to-face as often as possible with friends and family who live nearby – studies show that socialising in person actually protects our wellbeing.
  • Avoid platforms that trigger you. For example, if your feed is flooded with images that lower your self-esteem rather than inspire, delete the app!
  • Question what you see. Remind yourself that social content is often skewed to make the poster look good because they want approval. It’s also worth noting that we can feel envious about a lifestyle that wouldn’t suit our personalities anyway – in situations like this, a little self-knowledge can quell the green-eyed monster. 

Of course, if you’re prone to mental health issues, it makes sense to take a particularly cautious approach to the online world, perhaps limiting its usage while undergoing any form of treatment.


Unfortunately, potentially harmful content can also make its way onto these vast platforms, so we all need to play our part by reporting inappropriate images and posts that are especially dangerous to young or vulnerable users.


By using social media sensibility and responsibly, we can shield ourselves and others from its worst effects while using it as a tool to fuel our businesses and enrich our social lives.