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Impact of Social Media

The Impact of Social Media on Our Mental Health

The beauty of social media is, at a tap of our fingers, we’re connected to the world.

We can share our joys, voice our concerns, and even show off our culinary experiments. But have you ever stopped to wonder about the flip side?

We’re talking about the hours lost in scrolling, the pang of envy at someone else’s seemingly perfect life, or the anxiety of not getting enough likes.

This isn’t to vilify social media—it’s a powerful tool, after all—but to shed light on its not-so-glamorous impact on our mental health. The storm brews not from using social media, but from overindulging in it.

It’s complex, it’s profound, and we’re about to dive into it. So, are you ready to join us on this journey?

The Positives of Social Media: More Than Just Likes and Shares

Before we delve into the maze of problems that can arise from an overindulgence in social media, it’s only fair to start on a positive note.

  1. Global Connectivity: Social media removes geographical boundaries, connecting us to friends, family, and strangers across the globe. It’s an instant bridge to various cultures and experiences that we may not otherwise have access to.
  1. Information and Awareness: The speed at which information is shared on social platforms is unmatched. Crucial news updates, public health advisories, and even educational content are at our fingertips, fostering an informed society.
  1. Empowerment and Advocacy: Social media gives everyone a voice. It’s a platform where individuals can stand up for what they believe in, promote causes close to their heart, and rally support for societal change.
  1. Personal and Professional Development: From LinkedIn to Instagram, these platforms are spaces for networking, learning, and growth. They provide opportunities for career advancement, skill development, and even starting a business from scratch!
  1. Creativity and Self-Expression: Social media is a canvas for creativity. It allows us to showcase our talents, share our interests, and express our thoughts and emotions in innovative ways.
  1. Community Building: Whether it’s a group of knitting enthusiasts, book lovers, or climate activists, social media enables communities of like-minded individuals to come together, share ideas, and provide support.

Remember, social media in moderation can be a powerful tool for good. It’s often the overindulgence that can tip the balance.

The Dark Side of Social Media:

The excessive use of social media has also brought about some concerns, all of which can impact our mental wellbeing.

Anxiety and Depression:

Prolonged use of social media has been linked to increased levels of anxiety and depression.

It’s a cycle that feeds into itself – we hop onto these platforms seeking connection and validation, but often find ourselves spiralling into comparison and self-doubt as we scroll through seemingly perfect lives.

The constant bombardment of filtered realities can distort our perception of self-worth and success, fostering feelings of inadequacy. When these feelings become overwhelming, it can easily derail our mental health and overall wellbeing.

Poor Sleep Quality:

Social media can significantly disrupt our sleep patterns, leading to poor sleep quality overall.

The blue light emitted by screens suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. As a result, when we use these platforms late into the night, falling asleep becomes more challenging, and the quality of sleep we do get is often poor.

The impact of poor sleep quality on mental health cannot be overstated. Sleep is not merely a time for our bodies to rest – it is a crucial period during which our brains process the day’s experiences, consolidate memories, and rejuvenate.

Poor sleep can lead to mood swings, decreased concentration, and overall diminished well-being. Over time, chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to the development of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.


Social media unfortunately provides a platform that can easily be misused for cyberbullying. This form of bullying happens online and includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, or mean content about someone else.

Being anonymous on the internet can sometimes encourage individuals to behave in ways they would not in face-to-face interactions.

Cyberbullying is particularly insidious because it can occur at any time of day, and the hurtful content can be shared widely and quickly, making the victim feel trapped and continually under attack.

The psychological implications of cyberbullying are profound and can have long-lasting effects on mental health. Victims of cyberbullying often experience feelings of worthlessness, embarrassment, and fear. In severe cases, the emotional distress caused by cyberbullying can lead to anxiety, depression, self-harm, or even suicidal thoughts.

Decreased Productivity:

The allure of social media can often prove to be a significant distraction, curtailing productivity and fostering procrastination.

Users can easily lose track of time while browsing through endless feeds of content, engaging in online discussions, or even just mindlessly scrolling. This excessive indulgence often leads to decreased productivity as social media activities usurp the time allocated for work or meaningful pursuits.

The psychological impact of this is devastating.

This decrease in productivity can lead to feelings of guilt, stress, and anxiety, especially when deadlines are missed and tasks pile up. Moreover, the constant barrage of information from various social media platforms can lead to cognitive overload, reducing our ability to focus and retain information. This decrease in mental efficiency further exacerbates feelings of stress and inadequacy, forming a vicious cycle of procrastination, decreased productivity and deteriorating mental health.

Unhealthy Comparisons:

Social media often serves as a curated highlight reel, portraying an idealised and often unattainable version of reality. Users, in the quest for approval and validation, typically post their best experiences, accomplishments, or perfected selfies, which can set unrealistic standards for others viewing these posts.

This skewed portrayal of life can lead to unhealthy comparisons, where individuals measure their self-worth and success against the seemingly perfect lives of others.

This constant comparison can severely impact one’s self-esteem, leaving individuals feeling inadequate and dissatisfied with their own lives.

Such feelings of inadequacy can trigger mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. The fear of missing out (FOMO) further compounds these negative feelings, causing a relentless cycle of comparison, low self-esteem, and poor mental health.

Strategies to Lessen the Impact of Social Media on Mental Health:

Understanding the potential pitfalls of social media use is the first step toward mitigating its negative impacts.

Here are some strategies to help you maintain a healthier relationship with these platforms and safeguard your mental well-being:

  • Digital Detox: Regularly scheduling time away from screens can help reset your mind and reduce dependence on social media. This could be as simple as setting aside an hour each day without devices or taking a full day off each week.
  • Mindful Social Media Use: Be aware of why you’re using social media. Is it out of habit, boredom, or a need for validation? Being mindful about your motivations can help you use these platforms more intentionally.
  • Setting Time Limits: Many smartphones have features that allow you to set limits on how much time you spend on specific apps. This can be a helpful tool to prevent overindulgence.
  • Follow Positively: Be selective about who and what you follow. Cultivate your feeds to include positive influences and sources of genuine inspiration.
  • Reality Check: Remember that social media showcases a filtered version of reality. Don’t compare your everyday life with someone else’s highlight reel.

Remember, it’s not about demonising social media, but about learning to use it in a way that enhances our lives rather than detracting from them.


In conclusion, while social media has indeed revolutionised the way we communicate and share information, it’s critical to navigate this digital landscape with mindful awareness.

Balancing our interaction with these platforms and understanding their potential impact on our mental health is key.

These strategies aren’t about completely eradicating social media from our lives, but rather about fostering a healthier, more intentional relationship with these platforms.

By doing so, we can harness the positive aspects of social media and minimise its negative effects, ensuring an overall beneficial impact on our mental well-being.

Remember, it’s not social media itself that’s the issue, but the way we use it. So let’s use it wisely.

Contact Us

If social media has impacted your mental health, please contact Orchestrate Health today to learn how we can help you recover.

We are here to help

Contact us to find the care you need today.

+44 (0)800 193 3277 or
[email protected]


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+44 (0)800 193 3277 [email protected]

Orchestrate Health is a private pay healthcare company and therefore works outside of the NHS and CAMHS provision.

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