5 WAYS SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BENEFIT MENTAL HEALTH
The use of social media is always perceived negatively in our society. There are a few positive impacts of social media too which are often neglected but are playing their part in keeping us sane.
Here are several frequently overlooked positive effects that social media can have on mental health:
Actively interacting with people — especially sharing messages, posts, and comments with close friends and reminiscing about past interactions — is linked to improvements in well-being.
Relieve social isolation and loneliness:
According to research, routine social media use may compensate for diminishing face-to-face social interactions in people’s busy lives. Social media may provide individuals with a platform that overcomes barriers of distance and time, allowing them to connect and reconnect with others and thereby expand and strengthen their in-person networks and interactions.
The anonymity afforded by social media offers a safe space for people to express themselves and reveal their personal experiences with mental illness. In other words, it allows self-expression without the danger of stigma.
Inspire healthy lifestyle changes:
Social media can be used as a motivational tool to achieve healthy lifestyle goals such as quitting smoking or attending the gym regularly. Announcing a goal via social media and regularly posting about it promotes accountability to others, creating positive reinforcement from friends and stimulating an online social support system which may lead the aspirant to form or join other communities dedicated to similar pursuits.
Research has shown that sharing a goal publicly not only promotes accountability but helps one stay focused, and dramatically increases one’s chance of success, whether it be weight loss or sobriety for recovering addicts/alcoholics.
Make social support and interventions possible:
Twenty-four-hour suicide prevention hotlines aren’t the only sources of intervention. An increasing number of websites are now offering support through social media channels. These sites often provide anonymous forums for people to connect and share personal experiences. Many even allow them to sign up for an SMS service to receive daily advice, motivational messages, and information useful for seeking or promoting recovery.
Build community by Joining Local Meetups:
There are a lot of networks to connect with local organizations, groups, and clubs, or to network with people having similar interests. Twitter has a feature called Tweetups, which are face-to-face meetups that are organized online involving people with similar interests. These may range from people who share a love of playing bridge to groups of recovering addicts. Facebook events are another example of how social media can build new connections.
Strengthen existing relationships:
Social media can also help manage relationships, especially with those who live far away from each other, thus breaking down geographical barriers. It can also help maintain relationships for those with disabilities, such as elderly individuals and people with physical handicaps which limit their mobility and prevent travel outside the home.