Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snap Chat. Tumblr. Things that absolutely ruin women, yet these are some of the most popular websites used by women. With social media use at its all time high and depressive symptoms causing women to feel at an all-time low, I hope to encourage others by sharing an important lesson I learned not too long ago.
To begin, I’ll share some known stats. Many studies today suggest that the use of social media causes depression in women around the world. With constantly updating news feeds about family members and friends losing weight, getting engaged, being in a new relationship, getting a dog, getting married, going shopping, eating out at fancy restaurants, going on expensive vacations, having babies, etc. it’s not strange that it also causes women to feel worse about themselves. Here are some astonishing social media facts about women:
- According to an Oxygen Media study, over 1/3 of all women check Facebook when they first wake up in the morning and just before going to bed.
- On average, women spend more time online per month (24.8 hours compared to 22.9 hours for men). “Nearly 56 percent of adult women say they use the Internet to stay in touch with people, compared to 46 percent of adult men,” according to the report.
- Social media use can interfere with personal relationships and may cause a lack of verbal communication and interpersonal communication skills.
- These behaviors equate to women spending an average of 16.3% of their online time per month on social networks, a percentage that continues to rise month-to-month. Men spend just 11.7% of their time on the same activities.
- Too much use of social media causes women to be depressed, feel lonely, a lack of social skills, procrastination and trouble concentrating at everyday tasks.
The three C’s that make women the MOST unhappy in life are competing, comparing and complaining. Social media is a nesting ground for all of the above behaviors. Women often justify their social networking use by claiming that they use it to keep in touch with their friends and family members, but they constantly see what others are doing and can’t help but compare themselves. Women see images of thinner, prettier women and they feel self-doubt and worthlessness. They see endless newsfeeds of statuses about how well others are doing, which brings them down mentally, and they attempt to redeem themselves by posting competitive images and statuses. Other women see those images and statuses, and in turn try to compete and compare themselves, if not complain about how much their own life sucks. Although there is temporary satisfaction in a compliment comment or a “like,” women still feel as if they are missing out in life and their own posts and images do not bring them gratification. Is there a secret cycle of competition on social media that all women are trying to rise above? Perhaps.
Experts suggest that using too much social media can turn the hobby from fun to a full blown addiction. “We live in a world where the rules just don’t apply, we’re no longer able to realistically judge the worth of other people. It’s all essentially a fantasy land and I think this has taken a bigger psychological effect on all people, but especially women, given that they’re using these sites more often. It can cause things like depression and anxiety, probably on a larger scale than any drug has ever caused in America,” said psychiatrist Dr. Michael Yasinski. Yasinski reported that all too often women are using social media to figure out if they measure up to the competition.
Why do we as women compare ourselves to others and complain when we think we’re not good enough? Why do we spend countless hours reading news feeds of other people’s lives, and then tell ourselves we are not as good if we aren’t competing with others? Why do we judge ourselves based on what status or image someone else posts online? Why are we not using all the time we spend on social media as quality time with our own families and close friends?
On the other hand, it’s easy to question others – Why do so many people take and post images of every action they do, food they eat, article of clothing they wear, item they buy, etc. and feel that the entire world needs to see it? Does virtually posting complaints and drama not make women more vulnerable in reality? Don’t people who spend more time posting images and statuses online evidentally spend LESS time with their own families and enjoying life? How many people do you know who constantly use social media have a hard time expressing themselves in person? Ladies, we seriously need to rise above these things.
What can women do to rise above the social media depression syndrome? Allow me to share the 3 C’s of a healthy, happy social life.
Count our blessings. Take a piece of paper and write down a list of all the things you’re grateful for. Share them *in-person* with your spouse, boyfriend, besties, siblings, parents, etc., but NOT through social media. Studies also show that women who count their blessings in secret instead of complaining publicly are more happier in life.
Comfort others. There’s literally nothing you can do virtually to make a person feel better physically, despite what people say. Your family and friends need you to physically visit them and call them. Facebook and Instagram do not count. We are affectionate beings as women, and a tight warm hug and a smile can make any heart gleam with happiness. Call your friends individually and ask how they’re doing, get outside and physically visit them, and help them with anything they need. Bake cookies, help them organize their closets, pick some flowers for your neighbor that no one talks to. These actions will help you and others to feel a lot more happiness as you physically serve and visit others.
Control ourselves. Maybe you have a personal blog or a job that requires constant social media attention. Perhaps you have a cousin in another country that you can’t keep in contact with unless you’re online. Sure these are valid excuses to use social media frequently, and hey, sometimes you’re just plain bored. But try to use social media with caution and control. Make a list of things you need to do around the house, and after each one or few chores or errands are completed, you can reward yourself to 5 or 10 minutes of social media use. And use that time for posting inspirational quotes, complimenting others and personally messaging people you know. Be sure to set a time-limit or alarm, because if you don’t keep track of time, you may find yourself with nothing done, a big list, and more depression.
Life is hard as it is to be a woman – we already have so many expectations in life such as school, work, parenting, cooking, cleaning, exercise, errands, keeping in touch with friends and family, etc. Let’s use social media to connect with others in a good way, and don’t be afraid to delete that Facebook app if it’s causing you to waste too much of your valuable time or relationships. For the ultimate way to rise above, delete your entire Facebook account for a week at a time and focus on your blessings, those around you and self-control in other areas of your life, and surely, you will be a happier, healthier, stronger woman.
Information adapted from abc15.com, theatlantic.com, Oxygenmedia.com, debbieross.com, elizabethturner.com, and images obtained from Google. I do not claim ownership to images.
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