Sitting is the new smoking, according to health experts. Sitting is one of the worst things we can do for our health, given the number of diseases it has been connected to and the number of people it appears to kill every year. But, perhaps even more disturbing is what we do when we’re sitting: mindlessly scrolling through our social media accounts, using high-speed internet like Spectrum, when we have a few minutes to spare (or some hours).
We all know that social media has had a significant impact on our lives, but it’s surprising how much of an impact it’s had. Some studies have even linked heavy use of social media to depression and mental health problems, along with overall dissatisfaction with life. On the other hand, there are many positive aspects of social media that have been found to have the opposite effect. Overall, it seems as though social media can be helpful and harmful at the same time. Below, we have compiled a list of the studies suggesting you stay away from social media from getting sucked into its trap without derailing your physical or mental health in the process.
How Does Social Media Affects Our Physical and Mental Health?
According to a recent study published in the journal PNAS, while cell phones themselves might not have a significant impact on our health, they’re associated with an increased risk for depression. Exposure to light, especially the short-wavelength blue light emitted by computers, phones, and tablets, at night stimulates the production of melatonin suppressing alertness. So, if you’re trying to lose weight or avoid depression it may be a good idea to power down your phone before bed! And that’s not all: The same research also found that people who use their cell phones more frequently are more likely to suffer from social isolation. There is a correlation between higher levels of screen time and negative mental health outcomes such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and poor self-esteem. And, there is evidence that suggests that those who spend excessive amounts of time on social media sites experience lower levels of well-being than those who don’t use them as often. Bottom line: We need face-to-face interactions for optimal physical and mental health—not just online ones! In fact, scientists believe technology may actually alter how we think about ourselves causing us to become less happy with life in general.
A new study shows that those who spend too much time online are at risk for sleep problems, including insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, and even impaired attention. These issues can lead to chronic health problems over time—particularly in children. The effects of social media may be even more pronounced in kids due to their developing brains. If you are having trouble sleeping, try limiting your use of technology for a period before bedtime (or throughout the day) to see if it helps.
Researchers believe that stress is one of today’s leading causes of premature death, which has already become an epidemic in both America and abroad. With our lives becoming busier by the day, it’s hard to avoid worrying about deadlines, projects at work, relationships with friends or family members—and so many other factors. One method to reduce stress is to take a few minutes out of your day to sit down and enjoy social media websites such as Facebook or Twitter.
There’s a scientific basis to support what your mom has always told you: being happy makes you healthier. Research shows that happier people have stronger immune systems, are more productive, feel more loved and accepted, and have a longer life expectancy. The issue is that social media can make us miserable. It’s easy to compare ourselves to others—to those who are better looking or have bigger bank accounts—and be made to feel inferior in our own lives
There is evidence that suggests people who use social media more frequently feel more socially isolated, lonely, and depressed. These feelings can then lead to addictive behaviors as a way to cope with these negative emotions. To combat these feelings, it’s important to step away from your devices when you feel like you need some time away from them. Consider turning off all your notifications so that you aren’t continuously bombarded with information about what everyone else is doing or complaining about their lives.
Aside from making it easier to connect with others, social media is an easy way to procrastinate when work gets stressful. These tools seem harmless at first, but studies show that using them too much could be just as detrimental to your health as other vices. For example, a study conducted by researchers at University College London found that people who spend more than two hours per day checking Facebook were 50 percent more likely to develop depression than those who did not use Facebook at all.