June 14, 2022
Being connected to others can do more than just put a smile on your face. Longevity, health, and physiologic measures, such as heart rate, improve with positive interaction and connection with others where mutual care and concern are present. Connecting with others and nurturing in a mutual way activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which contrasts our sympathetic nervous system, which is activated in the face of stress.
However, when the studies look at social connection in the form of social media, the same is not true. In one particular study, young adults who had the highest social media use had significantly higher rates of depression. A second study has found that social media use is associated with poor sleep (more so with nighttime-specific social media use), anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
While many do appreciate how social media allows us to stay connected and informed, being aware of the potential emotional health effects may help you balance how you connect with others. Like all things, moderation is key and if you are feeling down to begin with, consider picking up the phone and calling a friend to go for a walk over scrolling through social media.