Your social media use is affecting your mood, and how to begin fixing it

October 19, 2018

As I woke up this morning, and stepped out of bed, I realized that... social media has really been one of the main contributors to the past few weeks' anxiety flare ups (for myself, that is). Now I know I’m no different than countless others who immediately get a sense of uneasiness as soon as they start to scrolling, so let's get into this...  

 

It is my humble opinion that social media is a double edge sword...meaning that when you pick up your phone and tap open an app, you can be exposed to positive friend connections, and a wealth of helpful information, BUT more than likely you are also exposed to what a lot of people consider, "triggering" content. 

 

Social media can trigger anxious feelings that could likely worsen the longer you consume useless memes, highlights of other people's lives, and controversial news topics. 

 

I don't know about anyone else, but I personally struggle with what some would call... an "unhealthy" attachment to my phone... and I'm really working on THAT lol...really I am. So in an effort to improve my habits, I wanted to give some suggestions that I have been using on how to discipline my social media consumption that may also work for you:

 

Set a limit on your "in app screen time".

For example, both Facebook and Instagram (in their most updated versions) allow the user to manage their screen time by going in their settings.. as seen below in the Instagram app:

 

Inside the app you can customize your daily, allotted screen time. Once you've set your limit, it's saved. To clarify, every time you open the app, it's running down the clock until you reach your daily limit...at which time you'll get a pop up basically saying, "time's up". I suggest playing around with works for you, while keeping in mind all you have to do for the day.

 

Don't follow pages/people that post "triggering" content. 

If you know you're sensitive to particular topics/subjects, don't follow pages that post/repost things that negatively impact your mood. This also goes for online "friends" or followers that post and repost negative things. Unfollow and/or delete them if you have to. *shrugs*. Hey, it is what it is.

 

You have a right to control what your feed looks like, with no explanations...especially when it comes to your mental health.

 

Don't check your phone, as soon as you wake up. Please...just don't.

Checking your phone (your social media specifically) as soon as you roll over, while automatic for many of us, is actually detrimental. Checking social media first thing in the morning can:

 

1) put you in a position to start comparing your life to other people's highlights 

and/or

2) prompt emotional reactions from negative posts/comments from trolls on said posts (this can especially be the case if you follow very popular pages)

 

Doing so, can steal time from your productivity...which automatically sets you off on the wrong foot at the start of your day. So, to decrease the chances of this try to go a minimum of your first 30 minutes awake NOT "in" your phone...at least until you get into your groove, so to speak.

This also applies to checking and staying on social media before bed. While we have some control over our feed, we all have been scrolling and have seen some off the wall post that makes you want to turn your head or throw your phone (or am I the only one?). That being said... if you struggle with anxiety and/or insomnia... checking your phone before bed may not be the best idea. 

 

Unplug

I think this may be one of the more obvious suggestions I've given thus far: Just don't check your social media. Set a certain period of time during which you do not check your social media... at all. If you have the discipline to keep your apps downloaded on your phone during this time... my response to that is...ok, do you boo. Personally, I'm not that disciplined (I know, sad right? lol). Anyway when I want to unplug, I either log out or delete the app(s) off my phone completely (temporarily). 

However you choose to manage your apps when you unplug, the most important thing is to prioritize your focus on OTHER things during this time...which brings me to the final suggestion of this post

 

Fill your downtime in with other stuff.

There are so many things ...and I mean SO.MANY.THINGS you could do in place of being on social media. You could:

 

-Spend time with family/friends/your significant other

-Read

-Listen to music

-Write down goals for yourself

-Review your finances/financial goals

-Exercise

-Meditate/Pray

-Do mundane tasks you've been putting off

-Study

-Clean your space

-Go to the park/out in nature

-Go out to the movie or dinner

-Create something!

 

I could go on and on, but y'all get my point lol.

 

So, all this being said... please remember that the previously mentioned are just suggestions I've found to be helpful. I'm a strong proponent of just a clean break from social media every once in a while for a least a week at a time. Just snatch the damn plug from the wall, my friend. You'll be doing yourself a WORLD of good because a lot ...I mean a LOT can happen in mainstream media in a week. So imagine all the mess you'd be protecting your vibes from. 

 

Implementing these suggestions will increase your likelihood of just.... relaxing. The whole point of paying attention to your social media use is to maintain/improve your mental well-being...which will automatically set you up for increased productivity. 

 

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That being said, if this post resonates with you..try out some of these things, and comment back on this post how it worked out for you.

 

-Tania 

 

 

 

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