Analysis done by Kepios shows that 4.74 billion people are using social media in October 2022. That’s 59.3% of the total population.
Social media can greatly benefit your life; you can:
- Connect with your loved one
- Learn new information
- connect with like-minded people
But how does it have a positive effect on your brain as it does on your social life? That’s a question that needs a deep explanation and research.
How social media is manipulating your brain
1. It makes you less rational
Social media is addictive. It’s because every time you log in to your favorite social media app, it increases the dopamine signal in your brain.
That’s how your brain rewards you. But the problem is, logging in is not an achievement.
You are getting a rush of dopamine for doing the work that doesn’t deserve the reward.
You become addicted to getting that dopamine hit and crave more social media time.
This addiction changes your brain structure, function, and cognitive development.
It affects three areas:
Users on social media apps like Facebook and Instagram scroll endlessly.
This makes you focus your attention across multiple incoming media streams like photos, videos, and comments.
This forces your mind to multitask, worsens your focus, and shortens your attention span.
Memory and information processing
It affects your memory capacity. Most people use social media to share their life journey, but this lowers your memory of moments.
Social media affects your transactive memory – how your brain stores information and where it stores it.
Emotional processing and decision making
People on social media strive for more likes, followers, and comments.
This makes them compare their lives with others. The more likes you get, the happier you become.
People will do anything just to get likes. Less or no likes and comments increase anxiety, feelings of emptiness, and depression.
This makes you:
- Chase unrealistic form of happiness
All the decisions you make are less rational and based on your life compared with others.
2. It decreases your memory
I talked about this, but let me get deeper. Every time you open your favorite social media app, you are bombarded with many pictures, posts, and videos.
You don’t know what to focus on. You are used to 60-second videos that explain everything, this affects your long-term memory.
You rarely give the time for your brain to actually think and process the information it has received.
3. Phantom vibration syndrome
You think your phone vibrated when in reality it didn’t. This syndrome is called phantom vibration syndrome.
More messages and notifications about likes, comments, and followers make you think you feel special.
Your brain craves novelty, which makes it creates a fake perception of phone vibration.
4. It diminishes your satisfaction in life
You will never find someone on social media posting their bad habits, ugly pictures, and insecurities.
Some are faking their lifestyle and happiness to match up with others.
You chase a garage of fake happiness made by people you know nothing about. This decreases your life satisfaction.
In reality, you might be happier than those who seem to be the happiest in real life.
5. Dopamine overload
It overloads your dopamine system which makes you happy and motivated to get more likes, comments, and followers.
This makes you find the motivation to get real-life work done harder. If you depend on motivation to get your work done, then you will have procrastination issues.
What to do
If you are addicted to social media and overuse it. Here are the things to do:
- Delete the social media app you spend the most time on if necessary
- Turn off all your social media app
- Make more friends in real life
- Stop comparing your life with people’s lives on social media
- Care less about likes and impressing people you don’t know
Social media improved my life and I still use it. But if overused in bad ways, it can make your life hard.
Here’s how social media is manipulating your brain in 5 weird ways:
- It makes you less rational
- It decreases your memory
- Phantom vibration syndrome
- It diminishes your satisfaction in life
- Dopamine overload