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Social media and depression

Brahmakumar Nikunj, Oct 31 2017, 9:35 IST
Nowadays, most of the people use social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook to share their thoughts and opinions with their contacts. As such, social media provides a means for capturing behavioral attributes that are relevant to an individual’s thinking, mood, communication, activities, and socialization, the emotion and language used in social media postings may indicate feelings of worthlessness, guilt, helplessness, and self-hatred that characterize major depression.

According to a majority of us, it is obvious and natural to feel like that. So how is it possible that these feelings could be the start of something worse like depression? Does it make any sense that using social media actually makes you depressed? Well! a recent study sponsored by the National Institute for Mental Health (USA), identified a strong and significant association between social media use and depression.

The study found that levels of depression in youths increased with the time they spent using social media and the number of visits to social media. With all these conflicting reports, it would be wise to understand our own personal reasons for using such platforms. We must understand one thing practically that viewing a friend’s vacation pictures and posts will not be as gratifying as having the chance to talk to our friend about his or her vacation in person or on a telephone. After all, most social networking users will not post vacation pictures and stories that convey the difficult moments. So, having a balanced perspective and realistic expectations about social media networking can prevent feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, depression and social comparisons.

It is also important to assess the quality of our non-virtual relationships. This can be done by taking a hard look at the actual time we spend with the people who are important to us. Remember! it is impossible, to replace the feelings of connection that manifest from having personal, genuine relationships. This is not to say that social networking is all bad or that our relationships from these sites are not genuine. But, it is important to keep in mind their limitations so we can adjust our expectations accordingly.

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