If you feel isolated, addicted, worried, depressed, or when not trying to cut yourself off from everything, check out the lists below.
How to Tell If You Have a Social Networking Addiction
Social media habits can affect mental health in a variety of ways, with every type of social networking site having its own unique way of doing so. Here’s a breakdown of how social networking addiction can potentially affect your mental health.
1. Social Networking When Distracted
Forbes cites that our inability to focus while we’re online has impacted the normal functions of our brains in a negative way. When we’re distracted and unable to focus, our moods can turn sour.
Social media cues like notifications, pop-ups, and pre-loaded ads can make us feel as though we’re being watched by others. There are plenty of ways of minimizing the impact of triggers like these. Just like how your diet can impact your mood, reducing your triggers will decrease the impact of social media apps.
2. Social Networking Gets in the Way of Sleep
Regular sleep is important to maintain a healthy mind. Learning how to manage your use of social media is integral to sleep and diet habits. If you don’t get enough sleep, you can’t give yourself the energy to perform your tasks effectively.
Sleep is so important that it has even been listed by the American Psychiatric Association as one of the root causes of diseases like depression. By failing to regulate your social media use, you’re risking your sleep. If you’re concerned about how social media might be affecting your sleep, the first thing you can do is check your smartphone throughout the night.
You’ll also want to avoid using it before bed so that you have more time to relax. It’s the perfect way to accomplish this: find a comfortable seating position, close your eyes, and focus on relaxing sounds, like a soothing bath or a soothing podcast. Then, have fun. Take your smartphone with you.
3. Social Networking is Constant Procrastination
Just like sleep, thinking about your social media habit can help keep you from procrastinating.
If you spend more time thinking about Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram than you do actually getting things done, you may be lacking in self-awareness. Social media definitely falls under this category.
Self-awareness starts with examining how your use of social media affects you in the longer term.
One way you can do this is to evaluate your habits objectively, even if it doesn’t make you feel good at the time. You can answer a few questions like:
When is the last time I made a real difference in the world?
When was the last time I was someone’s hero?
When was the last time I was someone’s stranger?
Is all this “connecting” really necessary?
How often are you determined to avoid doing anything?
Keep tabs on your habits in order to better determine how you feel about them. If there are chronic or repetitive habits you begin to embrace, consider making some changes to alleviate your dependence.
4. Social Networking Makes You Look Attractive
Twitter isn’t the only place where older women, usually women of a certain age, feel good about their looks. This led to an interesting study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
“Women who expressed social status graces’ online posture (meaning those who posted more often than other people on Facebook) were also regarded more positively on one dimension of attractiveness (genetics) than were Facebook users who did not show social status graces’ online posture (meaning those who displayed a more conservative posture).”
Sixty-five percent of the Facebook users in the study showed their middle-aged faces online. The implication of this experiment was that people viewed women with a more predictable style of dress as less attractive. This is just another symptom of how social media colors our perceptions of others and our beauty.
5. Social Networking Makes You Feel Stifled
Playing on social media for over a period of time can change how you perceive social connections.
If you spend every waking moment on your smartphone, you begin to form different concepts of social connections and lessen your idea of how true and meaningful relationships are.
Aspirational ideas like life success and financial security might cause you to feel as though every successful interaction on social media is important. If you’re asking how you should feel about your social media habits, don’t turn into a million slaves to a smartphone.
6. Social Networking Complicates Relationships
Everyone hates a bad relationship, but social media’s addictive nature has the ability to exacerbate these problems.
Once you’re addicted to social media, you’re unlikely to change the habit or stop obsessing over how others might perceive you. This may lead to significant issues in your friendships, your family, and possibly, even your career.