Welcome back to Spring Quarter! While we tend to live our lives very immersed within the world of social media, it is also a commonly believed fact that social media is not good for our overall mental health and well-being. Social media is known for creating unrealistic expectations, breeding competition, and spreading the onslaught of often tragic news that we are currently experiencing. However, UC Berkeley’s Dr. Galen Panger argues that social media may actually help people relax. Find out why below!

Social Media and our Well-being

by Jonathon Tsou

Social media makes us more relaxed, says UC Berkeley’s Galen Panger, Ph.D.

Often times as students, we look at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and we become stressed over the posts. From the horrible school shootings to the constant attacks on undocumented individuals, to the political climate. However, Galen Panger, a Ph.D. candidate from UC Berkeley says that social media actually makes us more relaxed.

Emotions often help fuel social media movements such as the Black Lives Matter campaign and the #MeToo campaign. Panger notes that social media is also where people go to spread awareness when there is a death of a celebrity or in the wake of another mass shooting. Panger reports that in his findings, people tend to use Facebook and Twitter as a way to wind down and relax. He uses the theory of “emotional contagion”, which states that status updates and social media users often create the same emotions for those browsing updates. By using this theory, he believes that because people use it to wind down, there must be something within social media that uses emotional contagion to make users relaxed.

Although his research may question many current research that says social media has negative effects on the well-being of users, he points out that it is crucial that people continue to post positive and mindful information on social media. He feels that “anything we can do to reduce the resentment floating around right now would be a good thing”.

To read more about Panger and his works, visit the UC Newsroom.