Written by Elizabeth Fedrick, PhD, LPC – – –

“When your mental health becomes impacted by social media then it is time for a detox.”
― Germany Kent

Despite what many people might say, social media has proven to be an incredibly valuable tool for a multitude of reasons. It can create a sense of connection for so many by providing opportunities to make new friends, stay in contact with old friends, and to have active and frequent interactions with a community of likeminded individuals. It can also be a great outlet to explore creativity, passions, and to engage in self-expression… And it can also just be fun!

On the contrary, social media has sometimes also proven to be a not-so-valuable tool for our mental health. It is well known as a source of stress, conflict, hurt feelings, and especially FOMO! There are the persistent pressures of achieving and maintaining likes, comments, and follows. Not to mention the hurtful things that are said and done, such as intentionally not liking posts, unfollowing or blocking friends out of spite, and posting hurtful comments or direct messages. Additionally, there are the relentless comparisons that certainly impact our self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.

The constant push and pull between the positives and negatives of social media can at times make it really difficult to enjoy these platforms and can sometimes create more harm than good. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are most certainly ways to have positive experiences with social media, while actively protecting your mental health, and here’s how:

Pay attention to how you feel:

Start to tune into to how you feel while you’re using your social media account. If you notice that you are feeling anxious, sad, jealous, or overwhelmed, this is likely a good cue that either the content you are viewing, or the pressure you are putting on yourself, are not beneficial for your mental health. Furthermore, if you notice that certain accounts don’t lead to positive feelings for you, start unfollowing these accounts or even blocking when necessary.

Set boundaries to reduce pressure:

After you start to become more aware of the emotions you are experiencing when using social media, start to identify what you have influence over when it comes to protecting your mental health. For example, if you feel pressure about your posts getting enough likes, use the “hide like count” feature. Or, if you feel anxious about who is going to see your post, turn on privacy settings. Additionally, keep in mind that you get to choose who you follow and who follows you.

Use your account for healthy self-expression:

Though it doesn’t always feel this way, let’s not forget that social media also has a lot of great uses. One of these being that it is a terrific place to express yourself through art, photography, poetry, and more. Using your account to share your talents and passions provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with other people who share similar passions. It is also a wonderful way to find inspiration, as well as to inspire others, in a really big way.


Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick is a Licensed Professional Counselor and owns a private practice, Evolve Counseling, in Gilbert, Arizona. She specializes in various areas, including depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship issues, and personal improvement. In addition to providing therapeutic services, Elizabeth also teaches Behavioral Health courses for Grand Canyon University.