How’s everyone’s long weekend going? In the US we are celebrating Memorial Day weekend, which means lots of fun in the sun with friends and family barbecues.
Today’s post is a long read, so grab your favorite tea, or coffee.
The internet is the wild west of our era. Yes, it provides a beautiful platform for like-minded individuals all over the world to connect, but one thing experts are starting to understand is how social media changes your brain. As of now, neuroscientists are beginning to study some of the effects that social networking has on the brain.
One surprising finding is that the size of your online social network can change your brain — in a right way. “The number of social contacts declared publicly on a major web-based social networking site was strongly associated with the structure of focal regions of the human brain,” a study published in the journal Proceedings of The Royal Society: Biological Sciences revealed.
Social Media Can Improve your Memory
Unlike old school photo albums that are only pulled off the shelf at family gatherings or high-school reunions, posting photos and events on social media improves your memory of specific events. “Events that were reported to be posted online were much more likely to be recalled than those not posted online,” Professor Qi Wang, author of a study published in the journal Memory, is quoted as saying in The Cornell Daily Sun. “This is also independent of whether the participant viewed the event to be important.” Social-media posts that include pictures can significantly improve memory recall.
Social Media Can turn on your brain’s Activate Your Brain’s Reward Center
Having your posts liked, and liking other people’s posts, on social media activates your brain’s reward center. This is one of the reasons why social scrolling can be so addictive. The more likes a post or photo has, the higher the reward. “Viewing photos with many (compared with a few) likes was associated with greater activity in neural regions implicated in reward processing, social cognition, imitation, and attention,” a study published in the journal Psychological Science revealed.
Too Much of Social Media can be bad for your Mental Health
It’s not good for your mental health when you have social media friends and not IRL friends. A study published in the journal the American Journal of Epidemiology found that found that IRL interactions led to more positive feelings than online interactions. One of the reasons for this is because people tend to compare themselves to others on social media. This is damaging because people tend to present the best ego version of themselves online, which means that the comparisons aren’t based in reality.
Social Media can reduce your attention span
It’s no secret that social scrolling is an ideal way to avoid what you should be doing. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that heavy social media users performed worse at being able to effectively switch from one task to another than moderate to light social media users. “These results suggest that heavy media multitaskers are distracted by the multiple streams of media they are consuming,” the study authors wrote.
Social Media can mess with your sleep
You can’t sleep because of your phone, computer, or tablet. Medical Daily reported that the type of blue light that’s emitted from your devices could be keeping you awake at night. Insomnia can lead to more scrolling, which creates a vicious cycle of wakefulness. If you want to get some zz’s, experts recommend disconnecting from your devices after 9 p.m.
Social Media Could Make You A Follower, & Not In A Good Way
Spending too much time on social media activates sheep (herd) mentality. This means you may lose your ability to think for yourself and form your own opinions because you’re more likely to go along with what’s most popular, according to a study published in the journal Information Systems Frontiers. Through the power of suggestion, you start to be a follower and not a leader.
Social Media messes with your nervous system
If you’ve ever thought your phone was vibrating when it wasn’t, you could be suffering from phantom vibration syndrome, according to a study published in the journal Computers In Human Behavior. This means that your nervous system is hypersensitive and reacts even when your phone is not vibrating, which is a form of hypervigilance.
Like everything in life that is not healthy for us, we can practice moderation because too much of anything is not good for our mental health.
Sending relaxing Sunday vibes! 💋
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