Staying connected is the name of the game in our always-on, digital world. But while so many of us enjoy social media, research shows that it can have negative effects on mental health. By modifying your habits and creating healthy boundaries, you can improve your experience with social media and enjoy better mental health as a result.
Checking Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter has become a daily habit that many of us use to catch up, stay in touch, and express ourselves. But when we’re constantly scrolling through a feed that highlights only the most appealing parts of our friends lives, it can fuel feelings of anxiety test centre in kandivali, depression, isolation, and FOMO.
Fortunately there are steps you can take to make social media work for you and improve your mental health.
Step 1: Reduce time online
If you’re struggling with your mental health and social media use, consider how the amount of time you spend on it affects your mood. Try reducing it a little at a time. Here are some ways to reduce your social media use:
1. You can decide how much time you want to spend on social media each day. Using an app to track your use, you can set a goal for how much you want to reduce it by.
2. Social media can take up a lot of time! Try turning your phone off during certain times of the day. Try not to use it when you’re driving, at the gym, spending time with offline friends or playing with your kids.
3. Many of us use our phones and tablets as alarm clocks, but leaving them by your bedside can disrupt sleep and make you more inclined to use social media when it’s time to get up. Instead, plug your devices in outside of the bedroom, so they’re out of sight, while they charge overnight.
4. It’s hard to resist the constant buzzing, beeping, and dinging of your phone alerting you to new messages. Turning off notifications can help you regain control of your time and focus.
5. Try weaning yourself off by limiting your checks to once every 15 minutes. Then once every 30 minutes, then once an hour. You can also use apps that automatically restrict access to your phone.
6. Reducing your social media use is like dieting. You don't need to cut out everything at once. Try removing social media apps from your phone so you can only check Facebook, Twitter and the like from your tablet or computer. If this sounds like too drastic a step, try removing one social media app at a time to see how much you really miss it.
Step 2: Change your focus
Many of us access social media purely out of habit or to mindlessly kill moments of downtime. But by focusing on your motivation for logging on, you can not only reduce the time you spend on social media, you can also improve your experience and avoid many of the negative aspects.
Before logging on to social media, identify the reason you are accessing it. If you can’t think of a good reason why you’re logging on, consider doing something different instead.
Step 3: Spend more time with offline friends
We all need the face-to-face company of others to be happy and healthy. Whether you’re looking for lifelong friendships or just a regular get-together, there are plenty of ways to build meaningful connections offline. Set aside time each week to interact with your friends and family. Join a club or find a hobby you enjoy, and get together with like-minded individuals on a regular basis. You can even reach out to an old friend and arrange to meet up. Make time to spend with your real-life friends, not just your online ones.
Step 4: Express gratitude
Feeling and expressing gratitude about the important things in your life is a welcome relief to the resentment, animosity, and discontent generated by social media. Practicing mindfulness frees you from dwelling on past disappointments and keeps you from dwelling on future frustrations.
Step 5: Ask for help when you need it
Social media sometimes triggers feelings of isolation and discontent, even when you have a lot of friends and followers. If you find yourself struggling with imposter syndrome, negative thinking, or just want someone to talk to about how you're feeling, seek out a professional counselor.
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