Expanding on our blog post on mental health, we want to take a minute to talk about the role of technology — social media, in particular — in our society today, how it affects our self-image, and how it affects our mental health.
As technological innovation has spurred some pretty incredible new things, it has also brought an end to others. To anonymity, to privacy, and in many cases, to feeling like you’re good enough. We love social media — it’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s expanded our horizons — but it’s also produced a ‘grass is greener’ syndrome where we have so much access into the “lives” of others that we are constantly comparing ourselves to others and we just can’t measure up. We feel like we’re missing out because of images and posts that we see are carefully constructed to show an idealized version of a person. When we constantly see the seemingly perfect lives, day in and day out, it can be hard to feel grateful for what we have, who we are, where we live, what we do for work, and what we look like. Even if we are aware of this tendency, it can take a toll on our mental health.
Aside from affecting our self-esteem, social media can increase anxiety by almost provide too much insight into the lives of others. Our ex-partners, our former friends, people we’re attracted to, people who have rejected or bullied us in some way. This especially doesn’t help when you take into consideration that the time we spend online is time we’re not spending face-to-face with people we care about (and who care about us). We think we’re closer together, but we’re really a lot more isolated.
The reasons we desire to be ‘accepted’ through social media vary from person to person. For an anxious person, it may serve as proof that people do or don’t like them. For a narcissist, it may make them feel admired. For someone who is insecure, it may serve as a source of self-esteem and reassurance. Though this isn’t sustainable, as we lose our self-control when we place our self-worth on something that is so external from ourselves.
Working in healthcare as a nurse, you have likely dealt with patients who struggle with their mental health. Even if you’re not a nurse, you likely know someone (or are someone) who has faced these kinds of challenges. While social media has contributed to a lot of us not feeling our best, it has also been used to help end the stigma surrounding mental health and to grow awareness campaigns, such as Bell Let’s Talk and Movember, and has been a place where people share their own experiences and find others who relate to them. As much as it can be a cause, it can also be a pillar of support.
So what can we take away from all this? We can be conscious of how we use social media — maybe follow a few more of those relatable, supportive accounts than the ones that show perfection, and if you are going through a rough patch, it might be best to take a break. This article offers a great recommendation of how you can do just that.
If you’re ready to boost your self-esteem through positive life experience, make new memories and see new things (that you may or may not share on social media), contact us about our current travel nursing opportunities.