Social media has changed our society in ways we haven’t fully been able to comprehend yet. Social media allows people to access news and information quicker than any other time in history. Unfortunately, this constant stream of information has had some negative effects on the wellbeing of its users. If you do a quick online search, you can find dozens of studies investigating and documenting the prevalence of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and many other secondary physical and mental ailments in relation to how often one engages in social media. Some have even taken lengthy breaks from their social media accounts in order to find some peace in the chaos of the digital age.
Does that mean you need to stop reading this and immediately delete any and all of your accounts? Of course not. Social media is a tool just like any other and should be used in a way that increases your quality of life and wellbeing. Social media use affects each user uniquely and what bothers some may not bother others. There are also many benefits to engaging in social media. Users can stay in touch with loved ones on all 7 continents through the use of social media. They can stay informed about issues they are passionate about, and connect with like-minded individuals to foster new friendships. Social media is what you make of it, but if you find yourself concerned about the negative impacts of social media, check out these tips below to help yourself remain sane and healthy in the era of social media.
Set Limits. All things should be done in moderation. Having a limit on how much you engage in social media assures a more positive experience. Too much social media isn’t good for you physically or mentally. Late nights on your phone will inevitably lead to sleep deprivation and less pleasant mornings. There’s only so many hours in the day, and time spent on social media excessively takes away from time that could be spent interacting with loved ones or doing something productive and fulfilling. It’s easy to spend hours on social media without even realizing, so you may find it beneficial to install an app that tracks your social media use and sets limits or alerts to let you know how much time you are losing to social media. Being more mindful of how you are spending your time on social media will help you make a conscious decision to limit your time mindlessly scrolling through your feed.
Check Yourself. Spending too much time on social media can lead to overall dissatisfaction with your life and your place in the world. When you are being bombarded by image after image of acquaintances on vacation, getting married, or otherwise seemingly excelling in all areas of life, it sometimes becomes easy to take a look at your own life and focus on what you don't have instead of what you do have. It helps to be aware of the fact that what you see on social media doesn't necessarily reflect reality. We all have our ups and downs in life, and most people aren't displaying their shortcomings for everyone on the internet to see. Keep yourself in check, and if you find yourself weighed down by feelings of negativity after social media use, maybe it's time to take a break for a while. Focus on yourself for a while, and remind yourself of all the positive things in your life worth celebrating.
Tailor Your Experience. Social media is a very personally customizable experience, and it's easier than ever to tailor that experience to your wants and needs. Choose who you follow wisely so that the content you see is content that enriches your life and experience on social media. You may enjoy a certain news media outlet, but you don't necessarily have to follow them on social media. Instead, you can choose to seek out that account when you want to see news so that you aren't being bombarded with anxiety-inducing reports of everything that is wrong with the world every time you log on. Only you have control over what you interact and engage with, so be discerning with the content you choose to see.
By being more mindful of how and when you engage in social media, you can make sure that your experience is an overall positive one.
If you are struggling with your mental health, you are not alone. Talk to your doctor about treatment options, or reach out to one of these free crisis hotlines.