Harnessing the Power of Social Media on Mental Health: Tips for Navigating

In the digital age, the intersection of social media and mental health is a growing concern. We’ve gathered insights from five professionals, including founders and medical directors, to address this complex issue. From combating comparison culture with boundaries to pausing for mindful posting, discover specific strategies to foster a healthier relationship with social platforms.

  • Combat Comparison Culture with Boundaries
  • Limit Daily Social Media for Mental Health
  • Balance Authenticity with Personal Branding
  • Set Goals and Time Limits for Usage
  • Pause for Mindful Social Media Posting

Combat Comparison Culture with Boundaries

Jacob Coyne, Founder, Stay Here

Jacob Coyne Featured

As the founder of Stay Here, a mental health organization, I’ve seen firsthand the profound impact social media can have on mental health. One specific way it affects mental health is through the comparison culture it fosters. Users often compare their lives to the highly curated, seemingly perfect lives of others, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and depression. This phenomenon is supported by numerous studies and personal anecdotes from individuals I’ve encountered through my work.

To navigate social media healthily, I recommend setting strict boundaries for use. This might involve limiting daily usage, curating your feed to include only content that positively impacts your mood and mental health, and engaging in regular digital detoxes to reconnect with the physical world. 

Additionally, I encourage individuals to approach social media with a critical eye, reminding themselves that what they see is often a selective portrayal of reality. Engaging in practices like gratitude journaling can also help counteract the negative effects by refocusing attention on the positives in one’s own life. These strategies have proven effective for many I’ve worked with, helping them reclaim control over their mental health in a digital age.

Limit Daily Social Media for Mental Health

Dr. Bryan Bruno, Medical Director, Mid City TMS

Dr. Bryan Bruno, Medical Director, Mid City TMS
Harnessing the Power of Social Media on Mental Health: Tips for Navigating 7

Various studies have suggested a link of some kind between social media use and depression. Limiting social media use to a half-hour per day has been shown to decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety. This may mean that a healthier way to navigate the potential link between depression and social media use is to limit your daily use to a brief period. 

You can also try to use social media for the purpose of communicating with friends and family, rather than scrolling aimlessly. Additionally, ensure that you spend adequate time in person with other people, which is usually beneficial for your mental health.

Balance Authenticity with Personal Branding

Alex Ebner, Owner, Ace Medical

Alex Ebner Featured

As social media continues to increase its impact on our daily lives, we are hearing the term “personal brand” more and more. For all of us, this can start to have an impact on our mental health because our personal profiles are being wrapped into some sort of digital resume.

It is now not unheard of for employers to check your social channels as a prerequisite to hiring you. This is sold as a culture-fit check, but it leaves everybody open to scrutiny in every corner of their life.

This can play into someone’s mental health because they are torn between making something that is personal and social into a private account to prevent this intrusion, and weighing this up against the possibility of losing opportunities because employers can’t get access.

We are creating a situation where everything has to be curated like a resume, which can affect people’s feeling of authenticity and create a separation between who we are and who we need to be seen as in order to succeed.

My tip is to remember you can’t please everybody, and you never will, so be as authentically you as you can. This is the best way to find your people, personally and professionally, and the best way to protect your mental health.

Set Goals and Time Limits for Usage

Dr. Mark Farrell (FIA), CEO, Associate Professor & Actuary, ProActuary Jobs

Dr. Mark Farrell (FIA), CEO, Associate Professor & Actuary, ProActuary Jobs

Social media encourages comparison through a very biased lens. Survivorship bias is strongly at play, as we are typically only seeing the best side of people. This constant stream of unrealistic comparisons can lead to feelings of lack of worth and feeling like you aren’t getting ahead in life to the extent you should be. In essence, it can produce negative feelings, which can result in worsening mental health.

I believe it is, therefore, a very good idea to be intentional about our social media usage. How do we do this? Firstly, make sure you don’t go on to social media without a goal and a time limit. For example, I typically decide upon a 15-minute blast on LinkedIn to see what my professional network is up to and what’s going on in the world, and when that 15 minutes is up, I’m done. 

The worst thing you can do is use social media as an activity to relieve stress or boredom. These platforms are designed to be addictive, and it’s easy to lose hours scrolling with nothing to show at the end and feeling even worse as a result. Secondly, it’s important to be very intentional about what you allow into your social media feed. I regularly clean my feed so that I’m not exposed to people or information that I know do not make me feel good.

Both these intentional practices help me to use social media in a healthy manner, where I gain the upside but don’t experience the potential mental health impacts.

Pause for Mindful Social Media Posting

Haya Subhan, General Manager, CPR Training

Haya Subhan Featured

In my experience, social media significantly impacts mental health through an intense obsession with validation. We often find ourselves in a relentless pursuit of likes, shares, and positive comments, mistaking these for genuine approval and self-worth. This chase can be draining. 

To combat this, I’ve adopted what I call a “Mindful Posting Pause.” Before I share anything, I take a moment to ask myself why I’m posting it. Is it to seek validation, or does it genuinely reflect something I’m passionate about or wish to share for a positive reason? This small pause helps me stay grounded and ensures my social media use is healthier and more self-aware.

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Mehar Jolly

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