With so many people suffering from depression and anxiety disorders in the world today, lately I have been thinking a lot about some of the possible contributing factors. Some research has found that the use of social media may contribute to depression amongst people who use it frequently. Certainly I have noticed people becoming increasingly more agitated and mad at the world on social media. I remember while I worked for the Central Intelligence Agency that I, for various reasons, did not use social media. At the time I had the kind of life most people dream of, and very social media-worthy – life in a beautiful beachfront condo, international travel, plenty of interesting friends and love interests. The highlights would have made most people drool. Simply put, I had the sort of life one would love to brag about on social media. But I didn’t. And I was, for the most part, a much more content and happy person than once I invited social media into my life, years later.
These days I hardly go anywhere or do anything that would fit anyone’s description of exciting.
I scroll with dismay as YOLO proclamations and outraged shares of flawed news stories fill my feed. I can’t help but feel low when either looking with envy at others’ seemingly glamorous lives or agitated by the enraged tone of other posts. And don’t get me wrong, I have shared a few outrageous stories and made some grouchy comments myself.
Telling yourself over and over that you are only seeing the highlight reel of people’s lives on social media can only assuage us so much.
Agitated, envious, unworthy, discouraged or just plain low – If something makes one feel this way the majority of the time, why would one continue to participate in that particular activity?
For some, social media is a necessary evil, and it can be an extremely effective tool for businesses to share their products. As a writer and small business owner, I use it quite a bit.
When the blue funk starts to creep over me or the self-righteous anger bubbles up, I turn to the method I’ve developed and adopted for freeing myself from social media. I call it the Pop-In-and-Pop-Out Strategy.
Limit your social media time to once a day, if not less. If you can manage once a week or once a month, that’s even better.
Never linger, just scroll on by. Keep your eyes on your own paper and don’t compare your life to what you see on the screen.
Reserve any comments for positivity. A “Happy birthday” or “You look great” is encouraging and positive.
Never drink and Facebook. This applies to all other forms of social media as well. Step away from the wine, beer, vodka when scrolling.
Just be kind. Try to motivate or inspire instead of dragging someone down. You never know what anyone is really going through.