Mind & Spirit

5 ways using social media can improve your health

By: Ashani Jodha
5 ways using social media can improve your health

<p>Social media can be good for your health.</p> Author: gettyimages

Mind & Spirit

5 ways using social media can improve your health

By: Ashani Jodha

You’ve likely heard about some of the drawbacks to using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social networks, but did you know logging in has health benefits, too? Read on to find out how they can help you lose weight, boost your mood and more.

 

Social media is a great way to see what your social circle is up to—cooking up delicious meals, going on fun family outings, rocking a cute new outfit. But according to a new study conducted by Andrew Reece of Harvard University and Christopher Danforth of the University of Vermont, it can also give hints about its users’ mental health. The study found that more depressed Instagram users were inclined to post photographs with darker, blue or grey tones and to use either no filter, or moodier options like Inkwell, Crema, Willow or Reyes. Conversely, healthier users opted for warmer tones like Valencia. It may seem strange to think about now, but analyzing users’ Instagram feeds could be a future diagnostic tool. There’s sure to be lots to analyze; as the study points out, Instagram members contribute nearly 100 million new posts a day.

 

Combined with the ever-rising membership rates on other sites, like Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook, it’s clear that we’re more connected than ever. And while a multitude of studies have looked at the ways social media can harm our health (including impacting young women’s body image, increasing anxiety, and even becoming an addiction, offering insight into our mental health isn’t the only benefit of logging in. Here are 4 other ways social media can positively impact your health.

 

Increase Social Interaction

According to a study by William Chopik of Michigan State University, social media can promote a decrease in loneliness and improve mental and physical health among older adults. But these findings were not only exclusive to seniors. An Australian review of literature also discovered that younger generations were able to use social media to build and maintain positive interpersonal relationships, form an unique identity and promote a higher understanding of well-being, belonging, and most importantly, self-esteem. 

 

 

Boost Your Mood

Don’t buy into the myth that social media is the path to sadness. One study found that moods spread from social media user to social media user and, surprisingly, positive posts make a bigger impact than negative ones. So, if you follow positive people, you’re likely to benefit from a mood boost. And if you post positive images, you can cause happiness boosts for your social world.

 

Meet Weight Loss Goals

Though Instagram and Facebook have been known to cause some body image issues, used in a healthy way, social media can actually be an effective motivation tool. A study published in the Translational Behavioral Medicine examined the benefits of finding social support in our online communities. Turns out, dieters who shared their goals on social media were more successful in meeting and sticking to their health goals.

 

Improve Public Health

Social media improves the overall health of you and your immediate social community, but it also adds another dimension to public health care. Based on a review of literature in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, 39 per cent of adults used social media for health care information. This included sharing and obtaining health messages, increased interactions with other patients and peer support that ultimately widens the public access to health information to those who may not easily access it through traditional methods, like younger generations.

 

Of course, these benefits depend on using social media responsibly, so remember to set a limit on the amount of time you spend on your social media sites for the day, challenge yourself to put away your phone when you are with your family or friends and if you begin to feel like your life isn’t that great in comparison to the photos and status updates posted on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds, remind yourself that people only post the best versions of themselves. 

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Mind & Spirit

5 ways using social media can improve your health

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