NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Is your anxiety level up these days? Have you been spending much more time on social media?
Believe it or not, experts say those two things are very connected.
CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez has more on how we can adjust our social media use and manage our stress levels.
Originally, most social media sites were designed to help us keep in touch or reconnect with friends and family. But now, social media has often devolved into sites filled with hate-spewing trolls, conflicting and often inaccurate information, opinions and arguments. And in these tense times, that’s not good for your mental health.
Andrea Koder has had enough of the endless debates on social media.
“The comment sections just get bombarded with negativity and hate-filled comments and that’s really hard to see,” Koder said.
So she removed social apps from her phone to limit her access and scaled back on people and organizations she follows.
Mental health professionals say that’s a good idea as we experience a global pandemic, racial injustices, and political divisiveness.
“We have seen spikes in cases of anxiety, depression, suicidality. We have seen spikes in use of mood-altering substances to cope,” said Dr. Ken Yeager of Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.
But a new survey of 2,000 people by the Wexner Medical Center finds Americans are beginning to make adjustments.
More than half have changed their social media habits this year and 1 in 5 make it a point of taking social media breaks.
“It makes people, over an extended period of time, which we have had here, feel like the world is a less safe place to be in,” Yeager said.
Yeager says a good first step is to close your social media feeds and reconnect with friends and family directly, via phone or video chat.
And in a world that feels chaotic and overwhelming, you can regain a sense of empowerment by taking actions like voting and getting involved with the issues you care about.
For Koder, it’s volunteering with community organizations and fostering shelter animals.
Those actions will give you that important feeling of making our world a little better. But if your moods are out of control or become panicky, seek help from a mental health professional.