How much time do you spend on social media a day? Ten minutes? Half an hour? An hour? More? In truth, do you even know? Social media has become habitual, reaching for your phone to switch off your alarm in the morning, then quickly opening up Instagram, scrolling through Twitter. Suddenly we’re being bombarded with images that evoke feelings, these may be positive but also they may be negative. Suddenly our day has started in either a good or bad place dictated by what we’ve seen on our phones.
There have been quite a few reports over the last few years, linking the use of social media and smartphones to the rising levels of anxiety, depression and even suicide in young people.
Disturbing images are easily accessible, trolling and online bullying is hard to hide from, and FOMO (fear of missing out) can have a negative impact on our mental health. Our minds aren’t designed to cope with all the noise that comes from our screens 24 hours a day.
What social media and smartphones do is pull us away and distract us from any ‘real-life’ moments. It stops us having a fully engaged conversation – keeping one eye on our screen instead. It stops us taking in our surroundings – experiencing joy in nature.
Put down your phone for a moment, maybe even switch it off for an hour, a day – simply be present.
Put your mental health first