Nino Severino: Social media can make people feel like failures – it’s toxic to mental health

Social media is a dominant force in many people's lives - and Nino Severino fears it is having a neg

Social media is a dominant force in many people's lives - and Nino Severino fears it is having a negative impact on mental health - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

In his latest column, Nino Severino shares his concerns about the negative impact of social media on the mental health of the billions of people who use it every day.

Social media is omnipresent in society these days. Picture: YUI MOK

Social media is omnipresent in society these days. Picture: YUI MOK - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

I've heard lots about life coaches recently, and I think these professionals can be very positive for so many reasons - but especially when it comes to combating the spreading danger of social media and influencers.

Life's stresses and strains are mentally and emotionally harming more and more of our population, so life coaches will only play a bigger part in more people's lives in the future.

They will become more and more popular and necessary as we move into a future which is driven by the power and influence of social media, which in my opinion has many negative facets that can affect the population in so many harmful ways.

I'm sure many of you, like me, have conversations about social media on a daily basis, and the toxic effects it can have.

If used properly, for so many reasons it can be a very positive aspect of life, but for me I see it becoming increasingly negative as it finds its way to the core of many people's lives - so much so, that it affects the way they think, act and react.

Many young individuals are now setting their life aspirations based on what they are viewing on social media, much of it being based on individuals who are simply famous for being famous.

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Their social media activity is normally focused around the way they look, the way they dress, or the way they behave, much of which has no reflection on the reality of most people's lives.

This means that many who are becoming increasingly addicted to following the lives of these influencers through their phones are being subconsciously affected in the way they see the world and the way they should lead their lives.

There are many positive role models out in the social media world, individuals who present their subjects in a very balanced, concise, structured and stable way, and are affecting in a very strong, powerful and valuable fashion.

It's the other group that I am more concerned about, those who pose their lives as being very realistic, and attainable by any one in the real world - but this is simply not true, and can affect the way many of their followers live their lives.

The mobile phone offers these influencers a screen of protection - it enables them to filter their lives, not only in terms of the way they can affect their images, but filters in terms of removing the truth of life, which enables them to force us to view life in the way they want us to.

Social media can provide them with a way of removing the rough and harsh edges of life that most of the population experience, instead presenting their lives as one seamless and perfect chapter of events that smoothly flows from one day to another, with none of the life issues that many of us experience on a daily basis - and it's this aspect which I fear is damaging the psyche of the nation!

It influences us to set unrealistic expectations of how we would like our lives to be, how we act, what we wear, how we look, where we live, how we live, and much of it is simply not attainable.

It's this yearning for something that can not be attainable, that ultimately makes many individuals feel like failures, simply because their lives do not reflect what they are witnessing through this small screen that they carry around with them all day, every day.

Social media will continue to gain momentum and become more and more powerful and influence the lives of the greater population, and this is why I believe good quality life coaches will have a big part to play, adding some reality to people's lives, creating real life perception and mental and emotional balance.

These individuals are not typically psychologists, but instead are often simply individuals who have lived life - been around the block, as some would say.

They have in many cases a realistic outlook on life, and offer support in terms of nudging unrealistic perception into realistic life styles. Many high profile celebrities will have a life coach in their lives, supporting a healthier way of living, and I think the future will see many more of the general population tapping into the skills and support these life coaches can offer!

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