The average internet user spends 145 minutes a day on social media. That's over 2 hours per day, per person on apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Part of what drives social media use is its intensely addictive format. We go online to see what our friends are up to and find out what's new with our favorite brands, but we stay and continue scrolling because the algorithm feeds us an endless amount of engaging content.
As social media algorithms get more efficient at keeping us online, social media addiction becomes more prevalent. However, social media addiction isn't seen as comparable to other forms of addiction, in part because its damaging effects aren't as apparent. In other words, we can go about our lives spending two or three hours scrolling, but behind the scenes, that time and energy have somewhat sinister consequences.
Before we get into the cons of excessive social media use, we'll acknowledge that it has allowed an increasingly distant society to feel more connected. As technology has pushed us apart, social media will enable us to be a part of each other's lives in a way that's brought people from around the world closer together. For example, writers can exchange ideas and offer advice and criticisms online, and authors can connect with their audiences over new book releases, and that is something to be applauded.
Unfortunately, social media use might not be so great for our mental health. Though it can make us feel more connected, it also corresponds to feelings of depression and loneliness. According to one study, heavy social media users are 3x more likely to experience depression than moderate browsers. In addition, we see an inflated sense of self and a lack of impulse control among generations who have grown up with websites like Instagram and Twitter. Instead of devoting time to healthy outlets, heavy social media users turn to these sites to cope with traumas and mental illness, and it isn't working.
Many of us use social media not only as a way to connect with friends and family but as a way to pass the time. It's a form of entertainment that keeps us busy. So why wouldn't you use that time toward something more significant that could positively improve your life? At Opyrus, we think it's time to see writing as your chance to tune out and relax. So whether you're an author who's written 3 science-fiction novels or a coffee shop barista looking for a way to practice mindfulness, you can use writing as a healthy outlet.
Believe it or not, daily writing can improve your overall mental health in the following ways:
- Better mood
- Reduced stress
- Better ability to manage anxiety
- More mental clarity
- Better able to address past and present traumas
- More likely to reach your goals
- Heightened sense of self-awareness
- More positive self-talk
And the list goes on!
Writing provides a healthy outlet for us to address our emotions, struggles, and triumphs, without following any set formulas. As writers, we're able to assess our current state of mind and take a moment to think freely, without worrying about 'likes' and approval from the world around us. Whether you're writing for yourself or using the practice to improve your skills as an author, a writing routine can change your life for the better.
Our challenge to all of our Opyrus members and social media followers is to take some of that mindless social media scrolling time and turn it into mindful writing time. Devote 15 minutes of your day to stream of consciousness journaling, or use one of our writing prompts to spark your creativity on a short story. The possibilities are endless. If you're interested in adding more writing to your life but don't know where to start, join the community at Opyrus.