Social media can be a good thing when used occasionally and carefully. For example, it is nice to stay in contact with your family and close friends who live across the country from you. However, when social media becomes a big part of your daily life, then it starts to mess with your head. You might want to consider how you can lessen the negative impact of social media.
It can negatively affect how you feel about yourself and your life. You may not even realize that this is happening. It is not healthy to know what everyone else is always up to, as it causes you to compare yourself to them. You start asking yourself questions like, “Why can’t I afford to go on a trip like that?”, “When will I meet Mr. Right?”, and so on.
What are a few of the signs and symptoms to watch for that indicate that social media is negatively impacting your daily life?
- Increased stress, anxiety, or depression
- Increased frustration
- Comparing your life to others
- Thinking about comments others have made on social media, even when you are not on social media at the moment
- Comparing your body to others.
- Inability to part with your phone or computer, because you have the fear of missing out on something
- Most of your relationships exist only on social media. You spend more time on social media than you do with people in real life.
If you have noticed that your use of social media causes you to experience any of the above, it is probably time to re-evaluate things and make some positive changes. In what follows, are methods that you can use to lessen the impact that social media has on lowering your confidence levels, and causing disruption of your thoughts and actions.
Begin by noticing how much of your time you are spending on social media
How many times have you gone on Facebook to check one message, and you end up spending thirty minutes getting lost in some drama going on in someone else’s life? All this does is add to negative thoughts in your head. Therefore, you want to pay attention to how much time you are spending on social media. Remember that this is all time that you can never get back. Once time is spent, it’s gone forever!
Next, place a limit on how much time you spend on social media
Once you know how much time you are spending on social media, plan to decrease this time. You can do this slowly and gradually. You can set a time limit using the timer on your phone. When the timer goes off, you have to exit social media immediately. Eventually, you may find that you are skipping a day, and then a week without using social media. Be sure to notice how much “new” time you have found in your life, and how much happier you are feeling.
Put away the phone, computer, or iPad when you are at home
This will be very difficult at first. Expect that it will cause anxiety and stress when you are unable to check your emails or comment on the posts of others. This is normal. Instead, plan to spend your free and extra time doing something else you enjoy. For example, this may be a good opportunity to read the book that you never seem to find the time to read, or you can sign up for an exercise class. What you are doing is replacing one habit (social media) with one that is more positive (reading, exercise).
Minimize your social contacts on social media
Reevaluate those people you have on your contact lists. If they make you feel angry, sad, jealous, etc., then why do you have them on your list in the first place? You should delete them, or minimize/hide the posts they share.
If you have to, consider deactivating and closing your social media accounts altogether. Start gradually by spending less and less time on social media, and then you can work up the strength and courage to close your accounts. You can simply let your close friends and family know that you have decided to spend more time in the real world again, and that if they want to reach you, they will have to do so using other methods.
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