Social media is an incredible way to connect, but if you let it - it can really affect your mental and spiritual health. Writer Rebecca Chamaa explains the one change she made to help her use Facebook and Instagram in a healthier way.
We don’t have to look very far to find studies, essays, and articles about the risk of spending too much time on social media. A blog post by the Centre for Mental Healthaddresses the issue. The article discusses the impact of social media on teens, but adults are not immune to negative consequences of too much Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and others. The Centre for Mental Health point out the negative impact social media can have on sleep but also anxiety, self-esteem, and overall mood.
The problem seems obvious; the more time we spend on social media, the more we are exposed to advertising and photoshopped images. The advertising can make us feel we need something we don’t already have, and the doctored images can make us feel bad about how we look compared to others. We are constantly looking at a curated life or a highlight reel, which can cause us to compare our lives to an unrealistic standard.
Comparing our lives and bodies to others is probably the biggest problem with these social media.
Comparing our lives and bodies to others is probably the biggest problem with these platforms. We see people on holidays in tropical places or stunning far off cities and we feel envy. We see people snapping pictures of aesthetically pleasing plates of food, and we want to taste and try them. In essence, we desire the same experiences as we are seeing. The problem with comparison and advertising is that they can impact how we perceive the blessings we already have received from God.
I have food on my table each night, a roof over my head, and a body that is a temple and should be treated as such no matter how it looks. How can we enjoy social media with less risk of coveting what others have? To start with, we can follow more Christian accounts. I follow so many Christian accounts that when I open Instagram, every third post has a Bible verse, sermon, or an article with a story about a Christian’s testimony, experience, or worldview.
I unfollow any account that makes me feel like I need to change my appearance or buy something to feel better about myself.
I unfollow any account that makes me feel like I need to change my appearance or buy something to feel better about myself. I also unfollow accounts where people regularly post about experiences that make me feel dissatisfied with things that usually bring me joy. For example, I love to spend the day at the park. If I feel like my day at the park isn’t as good as someone else’s tropical vacation, that robs me of my satisfaction and joy. Also, I love spicy black bean burgers and chips. If following someone who regularly posts chef-prepared meals makes me want something “better” than my favorite vegetarian meal, I hit unfollow.
I constantly monitor my social media for what messages I feed my heart and mind. What we consume is important because the Bible says in Romans 12:2 (NIV), “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This verse is just one example of many where the Bible refers to being careful about what we see, hear, and bring into our lives. In short, I use social media to add to my walk with God instead of robbing my peace and gratitude for all God has done and continues to do in my life.