In today's digital age, the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives and - a study actually showed that 94% people report feeling troubled when they don’t have their phone on them.
We use devices to connect with friends and family, access information, and stay up to date with current events.
However, the internet can also have a negative impact on our mental health, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety.
In this blog, we will explore the ways in which the internet can contribute to anxiety and low mood, help you understand how you can manage these feelings, and ultimately how you can actually use the internet in a positive way to boost your mood and improve your mental health.
With the right tools and strategies, you can navigate the online world in a way that enhances your overall wellbeing instead of drains you.
So, let’s dive in!
5 Possible Reasons Why The Internet Is Making You Depressed
1. It can cause us to feel unsatisfied and like we’re missing out
The internet can contribute to feelings of depression because of the fear of missing out (FOMO).
Social media, in particular, can exacerbate this feeling by constantly exposing us to the events and activities that we are not participating in.
For instance, if you decide not to go out with friends, you may see their posts on social media of the fun they are having, which can leave you feeling like you're missing out on something enjoyable and ultimately leading to negative emotions.
However, it's important to recognize that balance is necessary in life, and setting boundaries around how we spend our time and energy is crucial for our overall wellbeing.
Spending excessive amounts of time on social media or other online activities can lead to feelings of disconnection and dissatisfaction with our lives.
Therefore, it's essential to prioritise activities that bring us joy and fulfilment and limit our time spent on the internet.
2. It can lead us to constantly compare ourselves
The internet has made it easy for us to compare ourselves to others, even when we don't intend to do so. With social media platforms showcasing people's highlight reels, it's hard not to feel like we don't measure up. The constant comparisons we make aren't healthy, and they can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.
We start to question whether our car is fancy enough, our home is luxurious enough, and our work is glamorous enough. We may also feel like our lives are not as fulfilled as those of the people we see online. These comparisons can significantly impact our mental health and lead to depression.
Moreover, the need to compare ourselves to others online is often rooted in our innate desire to belong and fit in. However, constantly comparing ourselves to others can make us lose sight of our unique qualities and strengths.
We become so focused on what others are doing and achieving that we forget to appreciate our own journey and accomplishments.
3. It can cause us to feel overwhelmed and anxious
The vast amount of information we encounter every day while being online can be overwhelming, confusing, and make us feel insignificant.
The convenience of being able to access the internet at any time and from anywhere is a relatively recent development, but our minds haven't evolved at the same pace. As a result, we struggle to keep up with the sheer volume of information available online, and it can leave us feeling mentally drained and exhausted.
The constant bombardment of news, social media updates, emails, and notifications can cause our minds to feel cluttered and distracted. This can lead to difficulty concentrating and making decisions, and we may even start to feel like we're losing control.
Over time, these feelings can lead to anxiety, irritability, and fatigue.
4. You can go down negative rabbit holes
It's easy to fall into negative rabbit holes while spending time online. Unfortunately, the internet can be filled with a plethora of negative content, and if you're not mindful about what you're consuming, you may be inadvertently subjecting yourself to it.
Have you ever found yourself scrolling through endless stories that make you feel unhappy and discontented? Or do you find yourself checking the news first thing in the morning, only to be greeted with a barrage of negative headlines? If you're spending a significant amount of time online consuming negative content, it's likely that you'll start to feel low and unmotivated.
It's important to recognize that we're all products of our environment, and the content we choose to engage with can have a significant impact on our mood and outlook. If we're constantly surrounding ourselves with negativity, it's only natural that our mental health will suffer.
5. It can be detrimental to our physical health
We often don't realise the physical toll spending time online can take on our health and wellbeing.
One of the biggest culprits is the impact it has on our sleep patterns. It's not just about staying up late to binge-watch your favourite shows, but the blue light emitted from our devices that can have a detrimental effect on our sleep quality. The blue light inhibits the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycles.
Research has shown that poor sleep quality can have a negative impact on mood and mental health, leading to symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, and even depression. Therefore, it is crucial to create a sleep-conducive environment to ensure quality sleep.
Chronic sleep deprivation can also lead to long-term health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
But it's not just the blue light that can cause physical problems for us. Spending hours hunched over our devices can lead to poor posture, neck and back pain, and even headaches. The constant scrolling and typing can also cause strain on our eyes, leading to dryness, redness, and even blurred vision.
5 Tips To Reduce The Negative Impact of The Internet
1. Limit your time online
It's easy to spend hours online without even realising it. However, excessive internet use can have negative consequences on our mental health, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety.
Research has shown that prolonged internet use can lead to a decrease in face-to-face communication and social interactions, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation. This lack of social support can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety, making it crucial to limit our time spent online.
By setting boundaries around internet use, we can reduce our exposure to negative content and overwhelming information. By disconnecting from the online world, we can reconnect with the present moment, engage in meaningful activities, and prioritise our mental health.
Most devices have time-limit settings that you can add to specific apps or sites so that you can be more mindful of the time you’re spending on them.
2. Put Down Your Phone Before Bed
Excessive use of your phone or other devices before bedtime can have detrimental effects on your mental and physical health.
Quality sleep is essential for overall wellbeing and maintaining optimal health.
However, as mentioned above, the blue light emitted from electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycle. This disruption can lead to difficulty falling and staying asleep.
One way to achieve this is by removing electronic devices from the bedroom and using an alarm clock instead of relying on a phone.
By doing this, you eliminate the temptation to scroll through social media or watch videos before bed, reducing your exposure to blue light. Instead, you can engage in relaxing activities like reading a book or listening to calming music.
3. Understand that not everything you see is real
Realising that most people on social media only share the highlights of their lives can reduce the impact of comparison online.
It's a common problem that most people tend to showcase their best selves on social media, creating an illusion of an idealistic lifestyle that isn't realistic.
So, it's important to recognize that this is not reality, and people are only showing a curated version of their lives.
By being aware of this fact, you can free yourself from the trap of jealousy and comparison.
You can focus on living your life without feeling like you have to compete with others or live up to unrealistic standards. Instead, you can appreciate your own unique journey and embrace both the good and the bad moments.
Remember, social media is just a highlight reel, and everyone experiences challenges and struggles behind the scenes. So, don't let it consume you and take away from your own happiness and wellbeing.
4. Stay connected in real life
It's easy to fall into the trap of feeling like we are constantly connected with others, when in reality we may be missing out on meaningful face-to-face interactions.
That's why it's crucial to make time for in-person interactions with friends and family - research has found that spending time with friends and family in person can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
Joining a club or organisation related to a hobby or passion is also a great idea as it can not only provide opportunities for socialisation and meeting new people but can also create a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
So, while the internet can certainly be a valuable tool for staying connected, it's important to not let it replace the benefits of in-person interactions. Make a conscious effort to prioritise and make time for face-to-face connections in your life.
5. Focus on positivity
As human beings, we have a natural tendency to pay more attention to negative information than positive information. This is often referred to as the "negativity bias". Unfortunately, the internet seems to amplify this tendency as negative stories and content tend to spread faster and grab more attention than positive ones.
However, constantly exposing ourselves to negative content can have a profound impact on our mental health. Studies have shown that people who regularly consume negative news are more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. This is why it's so important to actively seek out positive content online.
This doesn't mean we should ignore the problems in the world or pretend that everything is perfect.
Rather, it means we should balance our intake of negative and positive information. We should make a conscious effort to seek out sources of inspiration, motivation, and positivity online.
This can include following accounts that share uplifting stories or quotes, reading articles about people doing good in the world, or watching videos that make us laugh or feel happy. By focusing on the good, we can improve our mental wellbeing and feel more optimistic about the world around us.
Here are some wellbeing-boosting accounts we love:
- @goodgoodgoodco - This account shares inspiring stories of kindness, progress, and positivity from around the world.
- @tanksgoodnews - Tank's Good News is a popular account that curates feel-good news stories and heartwarming content.
- @upworthy - Upworthy shares stories of positivity, inspiration, and social change from around the world.
- @mindbodygreen - This account focuses on holistic wellness, with posts about physical and mental health, nutrition, and self-care.
- @junoflexiblebenefits is our Instagram account that promotes mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing through inspiring guides, self-care tips, and encouraging messages. Whether you need a reminder to slow down and breathe or a push to try something new, @junoflexiblebenefits is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their overall wellbeing - so follow us now!
Take Control of Your Digital Wellbeing and Live a Happier Life: Final Thoughts
The internet has become a significant part of our lives, and we can't ignore its influence on our mental health.
Depression caused by excessive internet use is a widespread problem, but it's essential to remember that we have the power to reduce its impact on our lives.
By following the tips and strategies discussed in this blog, such as taking breaks, staying connected in real life, and focusing on positive content, we can take control of our mental health and wellbeing.
Remember, reducing internet depression isn't about giving up the internet altogether, but rather finding a healthy balance between online and offline activities.
By taking care of ourselves, we can enjoy the benefits of the internet while minimising its negative impact on our mental health.