Social media has slowly started to take over everyday lives. The effects social media has on mental health and overall well-being can drastically affect the process of addiction recovery. Setting healthy boundaries and self-regulating use of social media can allow you to focus on healing and maintain that as your primary focus.

Effects of Social Media

Social media can have a significant effect on your addiction recovery. Social media has been shown to harm the self-image of adolescents. For individuals in addiction recovery, worries about others’ opinions and a lack of self-confidence can be hard to overcome, and these issues may be exacerbated by social media. One major concern with social media’s influence on addiction is that individuals feel embarrassed by their addiction and are afraid to get help because of what others might think of them.

The following effects can arise from social media and may hinder recovery:

  • Negative self-image
  • The romanticization of addiction
  • Influence of self-harm
  • Excessive time consumption of social media
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Lack of cognitive control
  • Poor academic performance
  • Self-isolation
  • Fear of getting help

These effects can be extremely detrimental to the recovery process and lead to a variety of setbacks in an individual’s progress. Learning to manage your social media use and limiting your viewing content can keep you focused on recovery.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

While social media has many potential adverse effects on your mental health, it also proves many enjoyable aspects. It can be challenging for some individuals to refrain from using social media altogether. Social media can be a positive tool if you set healthy boundaries and ensure your media usage is not damaging to your recovery.

Track Your Time

Most modern cell phones allow users to view how many hours out of the day or week they spend on certain applications. Reviewing this and determining a basepoint of your current media consumption may be surprising. Set a goal of time that you wish to not exceed in the use of specific apps or overall social media use. Following up with your time spent in the following weeks and being mindful of this goal can help you refrain from overconsumption. 

Most devices also allow you to put a limit on your phone for certain applications. If you find your goal is too difficult for you to achieve through self-regulation, try placing a reminder on your phone when you reach a specific timeframe of use and even set your phone up to disable the application temporarily. This can help you get a feel for how healthy social media use fits into your schedule and can free up excess time to focus on recovery.

Observe Your Feelings

After using social media, reflect upon the applications you used, videos you watched, and content you were engaging in. Observe how you feel after viewing that content. If there is anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or anxious, it is important to address the situation immediately. Oftentimes, individuals find that the content they are viewing leads them to feel sad or negative toward themselves. Paying attention to these feelings and the possible content that creates those feelings can allow you to avoid the same media usage in the future and protect your emotional health.

Pay Attention to Your Following

Individuals you follow online create a large portion of the content you view with social media usage. If you find that a specific person or page you follow leads you to have negative feelings, unfollow, remove, or block them. There does not need to be any other reasoning for your choice, and no explanation is needed. If the content you are viewing leads you to a level of low self-esteem, find new pages to follow that motivate you instead. 

You are in charge of creating a healthy environment for yourself on social media. Choosing to only engage with accounts that uplift you can drastically change your mental health after using social media.

Be Mindful of Your Account

Remember that the content you post is seen by those who follow you. Try to avoid posting anything that will negatively affect your future or may upset others. Posting sensitive content that may trigger negative emotional responses in others should be avoided. Working to provide a safe space online for others following you and for yourself can help you diminish the negative impacts of social media on the mental health of all media users.

Ensuring you are taking full precautions to maintain the safety and security of your account is also extremely important. Security issues and privacy concerns can increase anxiety with social media use and can lead to the potential development of unhealthy relationships. Maintaining a secure password and enabling privacy settings can help you make sure your social media use is safe.

Social media has gradually been putting a damper on the mental health of media users everywhere, especially adolescents. Watching your engagement with social media networks and setting healthy boundaries with your social media usage can help you focus on your recovery and use social networking to benefit you. To work toward setting healthy boundaries with social media use, track your time used on social media and implement reminders of usage time. Observe your feelings and emotional state after engaging with content and pay attention to accounts that you follow that may be hurting you. Being mindful of what you post can help you create a positive space for other users online and avoid future issues stemming from your content. To learn more about setting healthy boundaries with social media use during addiction recovery, reach out to Dream Recovery at (949) 732-1960.

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