Monday Mind Talks: Are ‘swipe left’ dating apps affecting our mental health? Experts opine

Monday Mind Talks:  Are ‘swipe left’ dating apps affecting our mental health? Experts opine

Making sure you’re aware of the potential pitfalls of dating apps and that you’re in the right mental space to begin swiping can help ensure that your search for love isn’t also affecting your mental health. Today, we have an expert, Dr Aloke, who has been practicing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for the past 16 years, to offer an insight on how to combat the negative effects and embrace the positive.

Dating sites and apps like Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid cater to a wide range of tastes and preferences, with options for daters at all stages of life, from college students to older adults. The potential partners then can either “like” or “dislike” your dating profile by swiping left or right. However, there is a lot of exposure to rejection.

The real effects of rejection

The fear of rejection is a widely shared emotion. “Any kind of rejection can affect a person. According to a new research, rejection stimulates the same area in the brain which gives you physical pain. If you are having self-worth or self-esteem issues it would definitely affect the person. We humans are social animals and we all crave for a sense of belongingness and sense of attachment, so any kind of rejection would naturally lead to such distressing thoughts. It starts with negative thinking about the person who rejected you and then about the situation you are in, which eventually leads to self-sabotage. The way you think is the way you act. Actions of other people might have an impact on you and your thinking,’’ shares Dr Aloke.

stress eating

Negative impacts on mental health

These effects are felt more strongly by those who are emotionally vulnerable and seeking external validation. Even if an individual is not exacerbating a pre-existing mental illness, these apps have the potential to harm anyone who is swiping. He advises, “Rejection can affect your ability to focus on tasks. It also affects your cognitive ability to remember and logical thinking. People who suffer from stress related to rejection, tend to overeat. And stress- eating can often lead to weight gain. While a few people start missing on their diets because they get too conscious about that ‘perfect body image’ which leads to their loss of appetite. It can also affect their sleeping pattern.’’

Tips for navigating dating apps

One must make sure that he or she is in the right headspace before swiping. “It’s better to have a neutral approach towards such apps. If a person gets rejected, they start feeling too low and the one who gets accepted, starts feeling too high. One needs to celebrate the joy and experience which comes with the rejection and acceptance, and again come back to a neutral mind-set’’, he comments.

Not everyone on dating apps is looking for a long-term relationship, and not everyone who swipes right is a good match for you, but knowing that doesn’t make being ghosted or mismatched any easier. It’s always better to approach dating apps with levity while leaving yourself room for grace.


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