Are you one of those people who spends their time glued to the phone cycling through your social media accounts? Well, its time to rethink. Several studies have indicated the depreciating effect social media has on mental health.
Social media has over the years replaced the traditional modes of communication, all the while making the world smaller and reachable. But has it made it better? People may have mixed opinions about that based upon their use. But, here’s the bottom line -WE CAN’T IMAGINE OUR LIVES WITHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA. It is pretty clear that we are in some way or the other addicted to using it. Some may even feel debilitated if removed entirely from their social media life. You can’t deny having that little urge to peek at your phone to see what story is cooking.
Before you fall into this reclusive rabbit hole, from where it might become difficult for you to come out, we suggest you a few ways for you to have your mental health not affected by social media :
1. Limiting your Social Media Use
Though this one sounds like a no brainer to you, it’s rather difficult to put in action. All that time you have spent scrolling through endless pages, turning it into a habit. Habits are here to stay, until you take initiative.
It has been found in studies that using social media interrupts person-to-person communications, thus diminishing the potential verdure of conversations. Prolonged usage has also been found to result in shorter attention spans.
The workaround here is to allocate specific times for using social media, and times for not using it. A good idea will be to maybe put off your phone when you are spending time with friends and family. You can pick up specific interests like reading a book, painting, playing some music or gardening for that personal connect.
Make sure social media does not interfere with your work, and divert your attention from critical projects and important conversations with your colleagues.
Remember social media is not more important than a good night’s sleep. Better keep your phone or computer out of your bedroom, as they are said to disrupt sleep.
2. Don’t make It your Morning Cup of Tea
We have led you to a good night’s sleep, lets make sure you have a productive morning as well.
Are you in the habit of checking out your social media feed, first thing in the morning? Well, they don’t say “the way you spend your morning is going to affect your whole day” for nothing. Instead of taking that plunge into your social media recharge pits, indulge yourself in something like meditation, yoga to calm your mind and set pace for the rest of your day.
You will connect better with people, make sound judgements and have a better experience of the day overall.
And remember, every time you feel that urge to check out your phone, ask yourself if you are going to gain something of it and do it only if it is going to outweigh the more tangible priorities in your life.
Life is very short for wasting time on scrolling through your mobile screens looking at other people living their lives.
3. Try to Determine How Much Social Media is Good for You
Now that you have decided how you want to have your morning cup of tea. Its imperative that you know how much is good for you.
Try using your favourite social media platforms at different times of the day and for varying lengths of time, to see how you feel after each session.
You may find that a few short spurts help you feel better than an hour of scrolling exhaustively through a site’s feed.
It must be noted that people who use social media passively, just browsing and consuming contents posted by other people, are prone to feeling worse and depleted than people participating actively, who post their own material and engage with others online. You should try whenever possible, to focus your online interactions with people you already know offline.
4. Adopt a Filtered Approach
You may feel popular by the large number friends or people following you on social media. You may even be interested in some of the content they post that comes up in your feed. But in truth, most of it may not even be relevant to your interests and might just be boring, annoying and hog attention and time with no use.
Time to do the deed, mute those pages or unfollow those people. Most of them won’t even notice; and your life will be better for it.
A recent study found that information about the lives of Facebook friends affects people more negatively than other content on Facebook. People whose social media included inspirational stories experienced gratitude vitality and awe.
Adopt what psychologist Jelena Kecmanovic says “pruning” of friends and add a few motivational and funny sites. This might help decrease the negative effects of social media.
5. Disconnect for a Social Media “Detox”
Who does not love a vacation after a long, stressful project. Vacations help us detox and rejuvenate. Well, we would say, a vacation from social media would really help too. You can start by scheduling multi-day breaks from social media.
Several studies show that a five-day or a week-long break from Facebook can lead to lower stress and higher life satisfaction.
If that is too much to ask, you can just cut back – using Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat just 10 minutes a day for three weeks resulted in lower loneliness and depression.
Here’s how you can start – delete the apps for your social media services, or mute the notifications and declare publicly to your family and friends that you are on a break from using them. Publicly declaring nonetheless shall hold you accountable for the task.
Last but not the least, it is paramount that you understand social media is not your real life, and you should not let it become one. Connecting on Facebook to that new colleague of yours you could not talk to at your work place? Good thing, but don’t neglect a talk face to face. Social media shall be used, and often wisely as a tool to augment your real life not hinder it.
We must understand the fact only a flesh-and-blood person sitting across you can fulfill the basic human need for connection and belonging.