Have you ever looked at someone’s profile on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and thought to yourself, “Wow. Their life is seriously so much better than mine. I’m so jealous?” What about the videos they post to their Snapchat account? Do you find yourself wishing your life was as fantastic as theirs? Does it sometimes make you feel depressed? You’re not alone. Researchers have found that there is a direct link between depression and social media usage, particularly in the 19-32 age group. According to Complex.com, researchers found that people who use social media are two and a half times more likely to be depressed than those who do not use social media.
Why is that? Social media gives us a first hand glimpse into the lives of others. We can see the good, the bad and the ugly all at one time, but mostly what we see is the good. And sometimes, that’s not what we want to see. Often times feelings of regret, anger, jealousy, and hopelessness can arise out of seeing how great someone else’s life is. This can lead to situations involving cyberbullying, and can also cause some people to develop an inferiority complex. All those feelings in turn can lead to individuals developing depression, and for those who are already exhibiting symptoms of depression, social media can actually make depression worse. New York Magazine offers a great article on the six major anxieties of social media, and how each one contributes to those feelings of depression and inferiority.
So how do you keep from developing a complex when using social media? First and foremost, you have to tell yourself that not everything that glitters is not gold. You also need to remind yourself that it is social media we are talking about. It gives us the power to portray ourselves and our lives how we want others to see us, not necessarily how we are in reality. The other thing experts suggest doing is breaking up with your social media accounts, or at least taking a break. When I deleted my Facebook account a while back, I cannot begin to describe the relief that I felt; it was almost cathartic.
I do have my account back now, though, along with Instagram, but I’ve found that I’m not overly concerned with who is doing what and with whom and why. I use my social media accounts primarily to stay in touch with people that I care about such as close friends and family, and I use social media to connect with others that I find interesting, or to make professional connections in the world of writing. My other primary use for social media is to promote myself as a writer and to share my work with others.
Psychology Today offers the following tips for dealing with the social media complex, or social anxiety:
- Shift your priorities
- Make friends outside of social media
- Live your life instead of just Snapchatting about it!
- Give yourself a break from time to time
Do you suffer from a social media complex? Do you think that social media can cause a person to develop a complex? Let us know in the comments!