Connect to Disconnect

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By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe

New Delhi– The increased use of social media signifies that people today are more connected than we have ever been in the history of time. While the internet can prove to be an invaluable tool to keep in touch with loved ones and the wider world, an excessive virtual reliance can have a damaging impact on our mental health.

With most of us habitually checking our phones umpteen times in a day can make us feel increasingly unhappy and isolated in the long run. The endless bombardment of flawlessly filtered images that appear on social media handles are bound to knock our self-esteem and can lead to poor mental health.

Kanchan Rai, Mental and Emotional Wellbeing Coach, Founder — Let Us Talk, share ways by which social media can adversely affect our mental health without us even realising:

Low self-esteem: It is quite natural for everyone to have their share of anxieties, some that we speak about openly and others that we choose to keep to ourselves. The act of comparing yourself to others on social media could do little to moderate your feelings of self-doubt. It has been found that people glued to rectangular screens often tend to suffer from a typical condition called ‘social media envy’ as opposed to those who refrain from resorting to internet usage. When we develop a sense of worth based on how we are performing relative to others, we start placing our contentment in a variable that is totally beyond our control. Being more aware of the time we spend scrolling onto others online lives, could definitely help us in being more focussed on ourselves, thus boosting our self-confidence.

Disturbed sleep patterns: Most of us are accustomed to using our phones before hitting the hay, making it difficult for you to doze off. This is because when you get worked up with stress or envy from what we see on your screens tends to keep the brain on high alert, averting us from falling asleep. Additionally, the light from our mobile device can destroy the release of melatonin, a hormone that makes us feel tired. To improve your sleep quality, setting a strict rule of not using your phone for at least 40 minutes before bed can help make a difference.

Impacts your attention span: Your increased device usage will not just impact your subconscious brain, but also the amount to which your brain is capable to completely concentrate when you are awake.

Impaired mental health: Not only does social media lead to discontent, but excessive usage can also contribute to the development of mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. Concerning yourself with the feelings of the thousands of your followers can indeed make you feel anxious. Going on a social media hiatus will lend you a clearer head with plenty of time to devote to beneficial things.

Limit your social media engagement and instead carve in plenty of time connecting with your real life. This slight change could do a whole lot of good to your mental health. (IANS)

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