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9 Ways Social Media Affects Your Mood

Compared to other forms of communication, social media is so new that researchers are still just learning how using it can affect a person’s mood. However, even with only a relatively short amount of time spent studying social media, researchers already have a large body of evidence showing how it can affect a person’s mood.

#1 Social Media Use Reduces Depression in Older Adults

Research published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking shows that the depression that often follows older adults when they give up driving can be mitigated by staying socially connected through online activities. http://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2016.0377

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#2 Vitual Avatars Motivate Fitness Routines

Self-resembling avatars can heighten exercise intentions. It appears that the more a person is able to customize his or avatar to resemble themselves, the more likely they are to change to healthier behaviors. http://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2014.0356

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#3 Facebook Increases Happines for People with Autism

In a study of people with autism spectrum disorder, it was revealed that people with autism who use Facebook are happier than those who do not. The same relationship was not found with Twitter use. As with most things in life, moderation is key. Levels of happiness reported and time spent on Facebook both rose until a certain point at which happiness levels fell. http://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2017.0331

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#4 Cyclical Feeling Loops

A Belgian study of adolescent use of Instagram found that when teens browse Instagram they are more likely to report feeling depressed, AND when teens feel depressed, they are more likely to post on Instagram. This can create a loop depressing feedback loop. http://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2017.0156

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#5 Social Media Stress Affects Physical Health

Researchers have found a significant link between the size of a person's online social network and the frequency of upper respiratory infections. It appears that Facebook-induced stress lowers the immune system and leaves people more susceptible to illness. http://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2012.0156

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#6 Social Media Elicits Jealousy (Some More than Others)

Users of Snapchat experience higher levels of jealousy than users of Facebook. Researchers believe this is due to more people using Snapchat for flirting and dating. Facebook, on the other hand, is still more commonly used for staying in touch with friends and family. http://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2014.0479

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#7 Make it Facebook Official

It's not official until it's Facebook official. Setting your relationship status and featuring your partner in your profile picture can increase satisfaction in a relationship for both partners. Disagreeing on Facebook relationship status has also been linked to less satisfaction in a relationship. http://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2011.0291

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#8 Negative Emotions Run Rampant

Facebook can increase a person's negative emotions. According to researchers, when people use Facebook for socialization, entertainment, and information seeking, they tend to use the platform more often, which further increases negative emotions. http://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2017.0043

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#9 Too Much of a Good Thing

Although some studies have shown moderate Social Media use can help boost moods, too much of it can lead to depression. At least one study has shown significant Internet use can lead to significant depression. Interestingly, treating the psychiatric symptoms may also help reduce the amount of time people spend online. http://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.1998.1.25

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