Daily Inspiration

Mindful Social Media Practices

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, and many other platforms all share one thing in common: they’re vehicles that transport personal information to global society. Most people have an account with at least two of these. There appears to be an obsession or fixation with sharing pieces of our lives with the world and receiving some kind of feedback-whether it’s in the form of likes, comments, or private messages- just being acknowledged is a gratifying feeling. But as studies show, depression and anxiety can arise or worsen from too much time spent on social networks. There’s the risk that being attuned to everything going on in other’s lives makes us feel inadequate about our own. 

Also, when some people receive more attention than us in the form of likes or praise, we may ask ourselves, “what’s wrong with me?” “What am I lacking where this person is always more noticed than I am?” Countless thoughts can run through our brains that feed into a routine of negative thinking patterns. This is why it’s important to build awareness on properly navigating the waters of social media. 

Stay Away When You’re Feeling Grey.

If you’ve been feeling depressed lately, cutting down or eliminating daily social media usage until you feel better can help alleviate the weight of depression. Removing yourself from social media, if not just for a short time, can make you feel less lonely as well as cut down on those “fear of missing out” (FOMO) feelings.

Actively Engage With Others

Studies suggest passively browsing through news feeds, clicking through photos, and essentially “lurking” throughout social media is associated with a decrease in bonding and an increase in feelings of loneliness. This also can lead to envy and believing others’ have happier and successful lives. To reduce these feelings, it’s important to engage with other people. Drop comment here and there. Respond to comments. Join Facebook groups which are a more condensed, intimate setting and members are there for a specific purpose. 

Balance With Productive Activities

Negative moods can also be influenced by the idea of “time wasted” spent browsing through meaningless content. Balance this with hobbies that make you feel good about yourself. Clean the house. Be engaged at work. (Even if you hate your job and feel like your current role is doing nothing to better society!) Try to incorporate at least 1-2 productive activities in your day so that if you do find yourself aimlessly scrolling through your news feed, it won’t feel as if you have no life. 

Filter Content

Not interested in those baby ads? Too much sponsored content on subscription boxes you’ll never purchase? That girl at work keeps flaunting her new engagement ring when you know how miserable she is? Check out those three little dots in the corner of the post.Facebook allows you to hide particular ads and snooze people for 30 days. Many Twitter applications give you the option to hide certain content that may be driving you crazy. What are you reading or listening to right now? Based on your preferences, you should be able to filter content by topic for television, music, or books– anything of general interest. 

Let Social Media Make Your Life Easier

Have a purpose when you use social networks. Utilize hashtags to discover informational reviews on a new date night restaurant. Your new hairstylist or manicurist may be only an Instagram hashtag away. Facebook Marketplace is amazing and plenty of discounted items are at your fingertips. On Snapchat, many people use their awesome image filters to take fun photos without even uploading them. Instead they download to their phone to glance over later or upload to a different network. Job hunting is another opportunity in which you can engage. If you’re in the job market, enter “type of job”+”hiring” in the Twitter search box and see what you find. Employment managers frequently use social media to advertise job openings. Social media is a powerful tool you have more control over how it affects your life than you may realize.

By Joni B. Hess

Joni is a writer and social worker based in New Orleans. She enjoys ghostwriting and writing about mental health. She loves Mardi Gras season more than Christmas.

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