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Media Consumption and Mental Health

May 19, 2023

Our Mental Health Awareness Month newsletter series is focused on raising awareness and promoting positive mental health. The series will consist of four articles, which will be released once a week throughout the month of May. Each article will cover different aspects of mental health, offering helpful tips and information to encourage readers to prioritize their emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

When we talk about improving our health, you might be inclined to think about your physical health first, and the kinds of healthy foods that you need to eat to maintain a healthy body. But it’s just as important to consider your mental health in that equation. Just like the foods that we eat can affect our physical health, the things that we feed our eyes and mind can also have a similar effect on our mental health!

In today’s digital age, we’re constantly being exposed to media like social media, news, and entertainment. As it turns out, the way that we choose to consume it can actually have a marked effect on our feelings of well-being. A key example of this is our consumption of social media. While there are definitely some positives that can come out of responsible social media consumption — for example, forming connections and social support systems — it can also have a negative impact on some people. For example, researchers have found that the use of social media is often correlated with symptoms of depression and anxiety, especially among younger users [1] While more research needs to be done to determine this exact connection, it’s possible that the overuse of multitasking on social media, plus the pressures and self-comparison among their peers, may be linked.

Social media isn’t the only kind of media that can elicit these negative feelings, either. A recent study found that constant exposure to “distressing” news media during the COVID-19 era also contributed to feelings of hopelessness and worry among the people who consumed this kind of media [2].

This isn’t to say that all media consumption is inherently bad — in fact, it can actually be good for your mental health when it’s used in a more positive way. For example, engaging in social media can increase the sense of community and social belonging, which can be great for your overall well-being [3]. On another note, a small study found that pushing motivational videos on a popular social media website led to improved mental health and positive psychological effects on undergraduate students [4].

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The media-driven era we live in today has its positives, but it can also become too much if you aren’t using it in a healthy manner. While it may be important to “stay in the know,” the constant bombardment of news headlines and media stimuli can also wreak havoc on your well-being if you can’t recognize when it’s time to take a step back. It’s important to feed our bodies with the right diet and supplements like Methyl B12 to support our brains and bodies. But at the end of the day, it’s also just as important to feed our eyes and minds with the right kinds of media to protect our mental health. By consuming more positive media and spending less time on negative or distressing media, you can better protect your peace.