I’m kind of an anomaly in today’s world because, I’ll admit — social media is not my thing.
Although I have a Facebook page, I don’t post and I don’t ever log on to see what my friends and family are saying or doing.
When it comes down to it, I’m a private person and if I want to talk to someone, I pick up my phone and call rather than chat online.
And, while I’ve put up with a lot of questions about why I don’t participate in the social media age, and weird looks, it turns out that I may be on to something…
Comparisons create challenges
As social media use has skyrocketed, researchers have been taking a closer look at its impact on our psychological and even physical health. And, a new study published in the journal Heliyon has now demonstrated that what you see on your friends’ Facebook pages might just make you sick.
That’s because it’s inevitable that when you see other’s lives, you compare how your own is going, which makes you feel either better or worse about yourself.
And, the results of the study showed that when you feel worse off than your Facebook friends, you’re more likely to feel sick.
Basically, feeling bad about yourself makes you feel bad for real.
And, let’s face it…
It can be easy to think that someone else has a better life when all they’re posting on social media are the pictures where they look their absolute best, when they get an amazing promotion at work, or go on an incredible vacation.
What’s more, the study also found that just thinking that Facebook is important to you makes you more likely to be sick.
As lead investigator, Bridget Dibb, Ph.D., School of Psychology, University of Surrey, put it, “More people are spending more time on Facebook and social comparisons are an inevitable part of the experience. It is important to be more aware of how this activity affects us, and how it may change how we feel about ourselves, given the strong link between well-being, quality of life, and physical health.”
She went on to say, “Our most important finding was that participants who feel Facebook is an important part of their lives also report more symptoms, linking social comparison activity with the perception of worse physical health.”
Social media woes
And, this was by no means the only study linking social media use to health problems — both physical and mental.
A study at the University of Houston linked Facebook use to an increase in depressive symptoms, while research by the British charity, Anxiety UK, surmised that Facebook helps “feed anxiety and increase a person’s feeling of inadequacy.”
If that’s not enough, a recent study out of Australia found that kicking the Facebook habit for just five days can lower your levels of the stress hormone, cortisol (a hormone which, if you have too much, can lead to weight gain, heart disease, diabetes and more).
And, a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that higher social media use was associated with a higher body mass index. Ouch!
It seems that the evidence that social media can be harmful to your health is piling up daily. So, if you are a Facebook fan, be sure to use it wisely. Limit your time and be aware of how you may be comparing yourself to others so that you can avoid letting your Facebook friends make you sick.
- Are your Facebook friends making you feel sick? — EurekAlert!
- The health downside (and upside!) of Facebook — Easy Health Options®
- Why your body needs a Facebook break — Easy Health Options®
- Beware of Facebook friends: They make you fat and in debt — Easy Health Options®