Feelings of hurt and anger set in as soon as the Facebook homepage opened. There I was presented with a Facebook Memory from a year ago. The memory was a photo of my wrecked car due to a hit-and-run incident.
I was hurt and angry because the photo brought back my own memories of that traumatic experience. I also remembered that the group of people I had once surrounded myself with did NOT post comments acknowledging the accident.
That was not the only time I felt bad or inadequate after going on Facebook. Other times, my mood soured after reading a status update, looking at photos of friends on their dream vacation, or viewing a photo of a person I severely disliked despite being “friends” on Facebook.
I decided to revamp my social media experience by creating an account on Instagram. I began my Instagram journey by co-hosting a challenge on behalf of my yoga studio, and have since had an amazingly positive experience.
But others are still negatively affected by their social media interactions. Is there a way to end or prevent the negative effects of social media?
7 Tips To Stop The Negative Effects of Social Media:
1) Take a Break
Taking a break from social media gives you the opportunity to rest, recharge, and regroup. You are able to clear your mind in order to prioritize yourself and other aspects of your life. Furthermore, taking a break could give you new a perspective and appreciation for the life you live.
Taking breaks also boosts productivity. Based on a 2011 study, the brain stops reacting to constant stimulation because it adapts and, therefore, registers the stimulation as unimportant. This results in a lack of focus, loss in productivity, and boredom, which can lead to feelings of sadness and depression.
In other words, taking a break for a short or extended period of time can improve your mood and how you react to negative effects of social media.
Finally, how many times have you checked social networks while having dinner with family or friends? When you take a break, you are able to be present in your own life and for others. You can even contribute to the conversation and laughter.
2) Create an Intention or Purpose
My intent for using Facebook was to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances near and far. It was when I deviated from that intent that I started to become vulnerable to the negative effects of social media. With Instagram, however, I have remained committed to an intention.
Creating an intention keeps you focused on your purpose for the account. It could prevent the social comparison that naturally happens when we go on social media. You are also less vulnerable to the triggers that make you feel bad about yourself and your life.
3) Connect with Those That Lift You Up, NOT Put You Down
At my worst job ever, I was pressured into accepting Facebook friend requests. I did not care for the individuals that requested to connect.
However, I accepted the requests in order to be in good standing at that job. Unfortunately, that ruined my Facebook experience because the photos, comments, and notifications from those individuals often reminded me of how poorly they treated me in real life.
Don’t make the same mistake I did. Instead, connect with the people, places, and things that lift you up and make you happy. Most importantly, connect because YOU want to!
4) Change Your Perspective
There are at least two ways to look at photos, status updates, and comments. You can choose to see all that is negative and dark (the skull) or all that is positive and non-threatening (woman sitting in front of a mirror).
Using an example from social media, when you see a photo of your friend and his or her new significant other, you can choose to be jealous because you are single, OR you can choose to be happy for their new relationship. Choose the positive perspective and be happy for your friend.
You can improve your social media experience when you choose to view things from a positive point of view. Viewing things positively also creates a positive mindset. You are, therefore, more likely to find joy, inspiration, and laughter when you go on social media.
5) Keep Your Content Positive
Negative content can trigger negative emotions. It can cause you to start assuming the worst about everything. Worse, you might have difficulty accepting good things in your life because you don’t believe you deserve them. Ultimately, you become a negative person.
On the other hand, positive content encourages you to be positive, which is good for your health! According to the Mayo Clinic, being positive helps to ward off stress and boosts your immunity, which increases your resistance to illnesses such as the common cold.
In addition, you are more likely to take better care of yourself because of your positive state.
6) Contribute to the Cause
According to a study, users who are actively posting, commenting, liking, and sharing content are more likely to feel a sense of bonding and inclusiveness with others on social media.
The user is also less likely to compare him or herself to others, as such comparisons often lead to feelings of envy and jealousy. On the other hand, passive users are more likely to feel depressed and experience feelings of loneness.
Instead of being the passive user that scrolls mindlessly through photos and updates, contribute to the virtual community!
7) Remember That You Are In-Charge
Ultimately, you are responsible for your emotions. It is not Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the other forms of social media. It is YOU.
You can help manage your emotions by staying in control despite negative effects of social media. Here is how:
- You control who can see your posts.
- You control who can and cannot comment.
- You can remove something or someone if you do not like what you see.
- You can even block a person or report inappropriate content.
- You ultimately decide whether you accept or reject a connection request.
Remember, you are in-charge!
I now turn to Instagram when I want to smile or laugh. It has also become a valuable resource, almost like a hashtag search engine. For example, it has helped me improve my yoga practice, plan vacations, and discover new interests. I’ve developed a few virtual friendships, and I have even met some of these friends in person!
Instagram does NOT make me depressed because, unlike Facebook, I took certain steps to ensure a positive experience.
You deserve to be happy! Therefore, position your social media in a way that serves you positively. And if there is something or someone you do not like, remove it. Cheers to a positive experience – and goodbye to negative effects of social media!