Oakland Therapy: Social Media and Your Mental Health

Oakland Therapy

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat. The era of social media has connected the global population more than ever before. However, the average American checks their phone as much as 80 times a day, and some even more than 300 times. Our dependance on social media can have a negative affect on our mental health. The increased frequency can just leave you unhappy and more isolated.

Social media is supposed to make you feel more connected to your friends and to the world around you, right? Well, sometimes it can actually have the opposite effect. You may be spending more time on Facebook than face-to-face with your friends in the real world. You are probably all alone when you scroll through your timeline looking at pictures of others spending time together. You may fear that their lives are better than yours, even though you are not seeing the whole picture, online.

Jealousy is a real possibility when you are constantly confronted with what seems like perfect lifestyles full of adventure and experiences. This can very quickly take a wrong turn when you create a shiny, fake online life or do and say things just for the likes or retweets. You may even take a darker route that ends in online stalking.

Social media satisfies our constant need to know what’s going on. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing. It becomes unhealthy if being without your phone makes you uncomfortable, depressed or anxious. Why? Maybe the problem you need to address is why you are trying to escape from the real world. Is it because you have lost the ability to speak to the real people around you? Is it because you need the likes and comments to boost your self-esteem?

It’s not all bad. Social media certainly has its benefits. It can nurture your creativity, keep you in touch with loved ones across the world and even make you laugh. The responsibility lies with you. You need to monitor your social media use and put down the phone every once in a while, lift up your head and look around. There’s a whole real world of experiences out there that won’t fit on that tiny screen.

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Dr. Dan Quinn

Clinical Director - Licensed Clinical Psychologist (CA23350), Dan supervised the therapy and research of doctoral students at The Wright Institute, in Berkeley, where he has been a clinical supervisor. He has spent many years studying a multitude of therapy techniques, including relational psychoanalytic, cognitive behavioral, gestalt, solution-focused, and Internal Family Systems. He draws from all of them, depending upon the needs of the client at a particular point in the process. Dan was certified as a Positive Psychology coach after studying with its founder, Dr. Martin Seligman. He has 35 years of experience in the corporate arena, and was the CEO of a highly successful technology consulting firm.

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