Published in  
Community
   on  
November 25, 2020
 edited by  
Janet Escobar

The Negative Side of Social Media: How it Takes a Toll on Our Wellbeing

The reality, though, is not what it seems. People worked extremely hard to get where they want to be. They didn’t become a Digital Nomad overnight and headed off into the sunset! Now, owning my own business, I realise how much work is involved in getting it started and getting your name out there. The reality of their situation is - it is tough. They may have to work long days when they are there, but they only show you the highlights of Digital Nomad life. They may seem to have the “best life,” but it’s not your “best life.” If you stop to take a look at the things you have, you will become happy and grateful for what you’ve accomplished.

Social Media can be a great tool to connect us with people and friends around the world. We can stay updated with those thousands of miles away from us, learn new skills, support local businesses, and even make new friends and build new communities.

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Social Media can be a great tool to connect us with people and friends around the world. We can stay updated with those thousands of miles away from us, learn new skills, support local businesses, and even make new friends and build new communities.

However, it is impossible to ignore the negative effect social media has on our everyday lives, which may have long-lasting effects.

The whole purpose of social media is to connect us socially, however; look around the next time you go to a restaurant or a nice walk where people gather to “socialise.” How many people in are stuck on their phones and not socializing with the people around them?

I witnessed this very problem when I was in a restaurant. There was someone tuned out of the conversation at nearly every table, but instead, were on their phones scrolling or texting. When I was sitting down looking out at the water down by the harbour after a lovely walk on the pier, I looked around and noticed the same thing. People were glued to their phones taking photos to post on Instagram but not taking a second to enjoy the actual view themselves. It is very concerning to witness that the “social” side has been removed from human interactions, and now, it seems that to be social, you must be interacting online all the time.

The impact social media has on the expectations we have for our lives can be detrimental. I recently sat down to scroll through Instagram, and I saw all of these successful Digital Nomads. I couldn’t help but feel jealous of their lifestyle - Island hopping, working on a beach, sipping cocktails - while I was sitting in Ireland, in the rain, working in my then 9-5 job, cold and feeling a little bit miserable, to be honest. I was thinking, why is my life not like that? I want to be off on the beach logging into my laptop an hour or two here and there every few days.

The reality, though, is not what it seems. People worked extremely hard to get where they want to be. They didn’t become a Digital Nomad overnight and headed off into the sunset! Now, owning my own business, I realise how much work is involved in getting it started and getting your name out there. The reality of their situation is - it is tough. They may have to work long days when they are there, but they only show you the highlights of Digital Nomad life. They may seem to have the “best life,” but it’s not your “best life.” If you stop to take a look at the things you have, you will become happy and grateful for what you’ve accomplished.  

The anxiety that social media causes may not be apparent on the surface, but I believe it slowly damaging our well-being. I challenge you to delve deep and analyse how many hours you spend scrolling through accounts of people you don’t know and explore how you feel after it; you’ll realise how much of an effect it’s having on you. Do you feel anxious that you’re not traveling, not in the perfect job, don’t have enough friends, the need to do as many activities as possible to show the world you have a life? Moreover, do you sit down to look at your phone and realise 3 hours of your life is gone, and you haven’t done all of the things you wanted to do that evening? Do you compare yourself to everyone else you see online and think they have it all? This is the effect that Social Media can have on our lives.

I recently watched “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix, and it explains that our addiction to Social Media is not entirely our fault. Social media companies use Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms to push notifications on users so that they’ll stay on their platform for those endless hours. Why would they want to do this? Well, to sell to you, and it’s really shocking how successful they are at it.

I’m highlighting the negative impacts Social Media can have on your mental health, so you won’t let it control your happiness. I challenge you to turn off your notifications and see how you feel after it. You have the power to control when you use your phone, who you choose to follow, and what you consume.

Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


Article written by Aisling Healy Coaching and edited by Janet Escobar.

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