More Than Just the FOMO

Social media serves as a crucial tool between friends, family, and employers.  However, social media also serves as a trigger for feelings of unhappiness, anxiety, and even depression.

Stephanie Mihalas, PhD, a psychologist and a clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, reports that the longer we stay on social media the more adept we are to feel inadequate or unhappy.  Mihalas states,

“Becoming wrapped up in social media can create a negative cycle…Some people may spend time surfing Facebook to try and escape their depressive symptoms. However, social media can actually become a root of unhealthy emotions.”

Depression and anxiety have always existed, but studies show that media and modern technology have a heightened impact on these mood disorders.  Everyday Health states, “Participating in social media through the lens of depression can enable this type of negative thinking and validate faulty beliefs.”  When an individual spends a prolonged time period logged onto social media, they miss out on aspects of healthy living like face to face interactions, exercising, and other activities.  The 2011 study, Computers in Human Behavior, tested the impact of both face-to-face and digital interactions. The study found that both types of support were beneficial; however, face-to-face support showed a more positive impact on an individual’s self-esteem and overall lifestyle.  Mihalas adds,

“When you’re with other people, you have a chance to talk about what’s right, or at least what’s going on with them. Your brain’s stress response decreases when you’re able to talk about other things rather than focus on your problems.”

Depression and anxiety are no fad or trend, but a serious problem that has stemmed throughout the decades.  Recent advances in technology; however, have had an impact on increasing or even creating forms of depression.  While I’m not suggesting we remove social media devices all together, I am suggesting we limit the use of things like Facebook and increase things like exercise.



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