Social Media.. Mental Health… Mental Illness…
Most people by now have probably seen an article at some point linking the usage of social media and individual’s mental health. And yes, it’s probably true, social media can exaggerate or promote the manifestation of depressive feelings. Even within individuals living there lives with very little evident hindrances from their mental health.
As social media such as Instagram is consumed by content that leaves the perception of perfection and the same expectation. As Facebook portrays people’s lives as busy and without the pain of your own. Then you have another 5 apps doing the same thing a different way depending on the current trends.
And we are human, so no matter how hard we try, we can’t not believe it.
It is easy to forget while you scroll through endless photos, status updates and check in’s that what you see is a snapshot of someone’s life. As we all post what we want others to see and delete the other 13 selfies, don’t mention the argument with your partner and don’t check in when we get Botox. In fact, nobody even knows you get botox but your doctor.
It is impossible to live the life of those people who ‘have it all together’ because they only exist on our phones, tablets and computer screens. Do not hold yourself to unrealistic expectations and do not compare your reality with anyone else’s highlight reel. (I’ve loved that quote since I first saw it.)
That all being said social media can also be the incredible tool that it was built to become if you use it carefully. Restraining yourself from wandering down a path that will only lead to misery.
As I heard in a recent film, ‘There is nothing honorable about misery’.
So I am going to offer my tips on maximizing happiness and minimizing envy when using social media.
Firstly no matter how hard I assure you it will be, break those stalking habits.
I will now admit one of my darkest secrets. I for around 3 months religiously looked at a handful of people’s profiles daily and it was not for any benefit to me only what was a combination of habit, anger, and envy. (You shall be pleased to know I have broken this destructive habit and it helped.) Please, for your sake, persevere and do not let yourself be drawn in.
Secondly un-follow, un-friend and un-follow once more!
Follow the people you love, the people who support you, the people who raise you up when you down and the people who make you smile even on your dark days. Do not follow the people who anger you, upset you or quite simply do not benefit you. Social media isn’t a competition of followers it is there for YOU, and you should, therefore, follow the people who make your life better.
Thirdly limit your social media usage!
I should take my own advice here – maybe? Spending hours scrolling, clicking and refreshing endless updates of everyone else’s life, even if it is the best people for your happiness, is not constructive. Do not allow yourself to be an observer of your own life. The more time you spend refreshing those feeds is only taking away from your time without a screen to fix your eyes on. Find a healthy balance of screen time in your day or week.
I cannot provide much more advice than that, and I am still trying to take it on board myself admittedly.
Just remember how much more there is to the world than the screens that have been consumed the past decade or so. Remind yourself of the beauty of social media and do not divert from it. Because it can be a lifesaver if utilized correctly. I can vouch for that as I have created my own online twitter community and have found friendships and support from people who I would have never have met without it.