woman-1446557_1920Have you ever thought, “I haven’t posted in social media for awhile. I don’t know what is going on?” Then you feel guilty and worry that you have somehow missed something important. Actually, those anxious feelings could be a good thing if you tolerate them. A break from social media might be saving your mental health, especially when it comes to depression.

New research tells us that people who use social media most often have higher rates of depression! That’s right, the higher your usage, the more at risk you are for developing depression. Now, we aren’t sure if more depressed people take to the screens, or if the screens help create depressed people. But we do know there is a connection. And other researchers who conducted a study on Facebook use did conclude that Facebook use created unhappiness in younger people. Thus, we have enough evidence to say limiting your use of social media would be a good thing. Say goodbye to nomophobia (the fear of being without your mobile phone).  The world will continue. Life will go on!

If you are someone who feels insecure, envious of others or simply  struggles with esteem, social media may be contributing to those feelings and leave you more anxious and depressed. Therefore, a good place to begin is to evaluate how you feel after looking at social media sites. Does this help your mood or leave you feeling down? If you feel worse, limit your time, but ramp up your time engaging with others in real time. Support and connection is protective of developing depression.

Consider also that people on social media tend to present a fabricated view of themselves in order to appear happy and successful. They aren’t living the perfect lives they may present on social media. So don’t look at these sites and compare. And if you are on social media with people who are constantly negative and posting things that bring you down and lead to feeling sad, defriend. Instead build real life social support. Have coffee with people. Find a community group or church to do life with people. Engage with people who will share both strengths and weaknesses. This helps with perspective. And a realistic perspective and expectations about life can prevent feelings of depression.

For more help and information regarding balancing your digital life, http://myfaithradio.com/2016/balancing-familys-digital-world/

More from Beliefnet and our partners