Social Media might not be that bad for your mental health after all

 Imagine you could use social media to actually feel better about yourself by cherishing your experiences more consciously while sharing them with your network.

Currently social media use is often discussed in the context of depression and anxiety but a recent study by Sen-Chi Yu and her colleagues might shift the perspective by showing that social media can be used as a tool to improve positive emotions and thereby mental health.

The research they conducted is based on a positive psychology intervention that aims to improve savoring.

Savoring is the ability to look forward to an event, enjoy it while it lasts and feeling pleasure when remembering it. It is basically regulating your emotions about experiences in a positive way.

In order to foster savoring in the context of the social media platform the study asked 98 Taiwanese Students to plan and execute activities they enjoy and reflect on them on social media with words and images three times a week for a total of two weeks.

Before the intervention, immediately after and a month later, the students were asked to fill in questionnaires about their positive and negative emotions and in regards to mental health. The researchers hoped that while the students were consciously engaged with reflecting on their experiences by sharing them with others, they would learn the skill of savoring. Ultimately they hoped that engaging in savoring would lead the students to feel more positive emotions in general.

The results of the testing were promising that the use of social media could be used like a tool to facilitate savoring and potentially have a positive effect on mental health, of course in regard to the strategy proposed in this study.

This study  emphasizes the positive aspects of strategy use while engaging on social media and in context of social psychology aims to introduce a practical approach to improve the effects that this prominent application has on our society. 

Reference : 

Yu, S.-C., Sheldon, K. M., Lan, W.-P., & Chen, J.-H. (2020). Using Social Network Sites to Boost Savoring: Positive Effects on Positive Emotions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(17), 6407. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176407

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