Imagine if you were to have an “All you can eat and drink buffet” every day and everywhere you go. At home. At work. At the gym. In your car. In the schools. In the parks. Churches, and Mosques. This would require another level of self-control, or most of us would eat to stupor. Some would drown in alcohol….I don’t even want to imagine how that would look like. The world would be in shambles.
Sometimes we have to skip that pizza because we know we have issues with wheat. Sometimes we have to go slow with the alcohol because we know it turns us into an awful person. And with social media, sometimes we have to take a break because it triggers our anxiety. Sometimes we have to unfollow some pages and unfriend some people because they make us feel awful. We owe that to ourselves.
We cannot deny that social media has, and is still causing a lot of anxiety, depression, and to some extent led to suicides, so, it is not to be taken lightly. However, I am still convinced that social media has brought more good than harm.
What we feed grows
Blaming social media for our mental health is like blaming food for our physical health. Some foods heal our bodies, some do not, but taste really good. And if left to our human urges, we are likely to eat only what tastes good but doesn’t nourish our bodies.
Social media is the same; some pages are inspiring, informative, educative, and cheer us up. But some trigger our anxiety, make us feel less-than, remind us of our emptiness. The good thing is we are free to choose.
“Free” it is, but requires a lot of willpower and intentional living.
If we never pause and ask ourselves why we do the things we do. Why we follow the pages we follow. We will continue to cause harm to ourselves both mentally and physically. And we will continue to blame others who are just living the best way they know how to.
We have to remember, other people’s best might not be our best. When it comes to our lives, we are the ones on the driver’s seat. The road we choose will either destroy us or build us.
Life usually gives us signals. If only, we would pay attention….
Because we cannot see, feel, touch, the effects that social media has on our minds, we forget how important it is to guard our minds.
Is social media ruining your life, or are you ruining your life?
If you think about it, we do not live our lives just waiting for fate to take place. When we can, we try to eat our fruits and vegetables. We exercise. We visit the dentist and doctor for our regular checkup. We get some rest. This is not always easy. Life happens. But our bodies are smart. If you do not take care of your body, it will send you warnings before it shuts down.
These warnings come in the form of fatigue, dull skin, weight gain, weight loss, lethargy, insomnia, etc. And if we continue to neglect ourselves, life usually slaps us with a wake-up call in the form of serious health problems.
Contrary to our physical health, it is difficult to monitor what we are feeding our minds. Our minds can’t give us warnings right away when engaging or consuming information that will adversely affect our mental health. It usually takes a bit longer before we start to feel the effects.
And so, it is upon us to remember that; just as food is linked to our physical health, social media is linked to our mental health. And we need both to function well in this world.
As Shirley Cramer says;
Social media has become a space in which we form and build relationships, shape self-identity, express ourselves, and learn about the world around us; it is intrinsically linked to mental health.
Why are we forgetting the good that social media has brought to our lives?
Moderate digital technology use is not intrinsically harmful and may be advantageous in a connected world ~ Sophia Smith Galer
Social media has given us a cheaper and faster tool for communication and collaboration throughout the world. For some of us who travel a lot and live abroad, social media has made it easier and cheaper to stay in touch with our loved ones.
Charity organizations use social media to create awareness and raise funds for their causes. Without social media, we wouldn’t know what is happening in some parts of the world, and even if we wanted to help, it would have been much harder to reach people in other countries. Social media has broken these barriers.
Accountability — through social media leaders, politicians, companies, employers, religious institutions can be held accountable for their actions.
Driver for change — social media provides an opportunity for like-minded individuals to find each other, communicate and organize activities that lead to the changes that are necessary for our respective communities. Through social media, we can now see how people live elsewhere and how our societies are divided. With this information, we can fight for all, and not just the rich and powerful members of the society.
Social media has lowered costs and barriers to marketing and stimulated innovation.
Cultural diversity and awareness — social media has opened our eyes when it comes to understanding and respecting other cultures. Not forgetting, an increase in interracial relationships and marriages. This is a huge achievement given that the world is still dealing with racism issues in this era. Hopefully, through social media, we will learn that we are all the same.
Job opportunities — we cannot ignore the job opportunities that technology and social media have created worldwide. According to World Economic Forum: Ten years ago, jobs like App developers, YouTube content creators, Driverless-car engineers, Drone operators, Social media managers, Cloud computing specialists, Millennial generational experts did not exist.
I mean, if it weren’t for the internet and social media, maybe even Medium wouldn’t exist, and I wouldn’t be sharing this article with you right now.
Take back your power
Don’t let technology and social media use you. Use it.
I know — easier said than done;
But remember, as food can be medicine to our bodies if we eat right and in moderation; social media can also be a source useful information, inspiration, and education if we use it in moderation and follow pages that make us feel good about ourselves and life in general.
Like everything else in life; moderation is key.
Edith Tollschein 2019