How Can I Avoid the Effects of Social Media Depression?
Social media has become a constant presence in the lives of millions of people. Frequently, we find ourselves checking popular platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram while waiting for an appointment, standing in line at the grocery store, or sitting at a stoplight or in traffic. Social media has become effortlessly intertwined into the daily routines of millions of people. It can be an effective medium of keeping in touch with friends and family, but it can also contribute to depression and anxiety. Social media encourages social comparison, keeps world events (like the polarizing 2016 Presidential Election) top of mind, and can be addictive. Research has shown that social media users are more likely to suffer from depression and/or anxiety if they:
- Felt a sense of envy when viewing others’ posts
- Become obsessed with cultivating and maintaining a virtual identity
- Post frequently, particularly with negative updates
- Accepted former romantic partners as “friends”
Luckily, there are a few simple steps to take that can help minimize the negative effects of social media.
1. Limit Time Spent on Social Media
Monitor how much time you spend on social media each day for a week, then set a goal to cut that time in half. Figure out where in the day you turn to social media to “kill time”, then think of another way to utilize that time. Turning off notifications can be an effective tool to eliminate the constant interruptions.
2. Focus on Real Interactions and Change Usage Patterns
Utilize social media to keep in touch with and maintain relationships with real friends and family. It’s easy to fall into a trap of following “influencers”, with carefully cultivated images and perfectly polished posts that can make your life feel less than adequate. Consider unfollowing these accounts to focus on real relationships.
3. Social Media Detox
If you’re unable to reduce time spent on social media and stop following “influencers”, consider a complete social media detox. Deleting the apps from your phone and taking a hiatus can help you refocus on your real life and mental health.
4. Utilize New Sources Other than Social Media Feeds
Social media is full of fake news. Find a reputable news source to stay informed versus relying on your social feeds, whether it be a news website, TV, or newspaper.
5. Take Advantage of Counseling
Taking the time to talk to someone to help uncover the root cause of why you became susceptible to depression can help prevent it from happening again. Let’s Talk Counseling can connect you with a licensed Counselor for HIPAA compliant, secure, virtual sessions that are accessible from any smartphone, tablet, or computer.