Social Media is powerful and it has been integrated into all aspects of our lives. This new technology has been a mental struggle for many. Being able to access anyone’s personal information at the touch of your fingertips is very unsettling. Why us? Why our generation? I think the answer comes into play with the general idea of my last blog Mental Health Tips: How to Look at the Glass Half Full, optimistic thinking. If you look at the glass half full when it comes to scrolling through social media you are already at a great start. It can be extremely intimidating to see old peers or distant family “living their best life” online, but in reality that’s never the case. Everyone has their own struggles and posting online is sometimes a mechanism to let everyone else know that “you’re doing great”, but in reality, you’re definitely facing some sort of issue. Honestly, it’s all psychology. If you go to Florida, your social media will see you vibing out on a beach in your cutest bikini but honestly, that’s not really why you are there. In reality, you are visiting your sick grandmother, but you didn’t share that on social media and no one would think twice. The key to looking as happy as you do online is to analyze reality and not compare! I can’t wait to share all the researched tips and tricks I have learned in order to make your real life as happy as your social media life.
“Pay attention to people, not to your phone.”
― Abhijit Naskar
Why Are Humans So Drawn to Social Media?
Human connection and interaction are a part of all of our genetic makeups. Craving human attention and conversation is a part of who we all are. According to Psychology Today, there is no difference when it comes to social media. Strong human connections are how humans survive. These connections that we create online are related to happiness, health, and longevity. Dopamine also plays a big role in human attraction towards social media. Webmd.com states that dopamine is a chemical release in our brains that allows for pleasure and also aids us in thinking and planning. Dopamine is stimulated by the exact parameters of social media causing our kind to utilize it. “The dopamine release can sometimes be so strong that it is harder to resist tweeting versus smoking a cigarette”, Buffer states. Social media appeals to humans and draws us in, in an addictive way. Once you grasp the concept of using social media in a healthy way, you will be able to conquer the world.
How Does Social Media Negatively Affect Your Mental Health
Social Media can be used as a tool of greatness, but it can also be used as a weapon of mental health destruction. If you don’t have an optimistic mindset about your life individually then social media will only make you feel small and inadequate. Multiple studies have proven an extremely strong link between social media usage, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and self-harm. When using social media to constantly compare your looks and financial status towards others, you will most likely always be depressed and unhappy. A lot of humans tend to judge themselves based on how many likes and comments they receive. At the end of the day, none of that matters. Social media pages have different algorithms for different posts and half of your friends may not even see that you had posted a photo. Don’t sweat the small stuff! There is a more happy side to social media usage and I am now going to give you the tips and tricks to get there.
“Make sure you’re also HAPPY in Real Life and NOT just on Social Media.”
― PK Kasirim
5 Tips to Be A Happy Social Media User:
Once you change your mindset about social media, you will be the happiest version of yourself!
- Identify What’s Making You Unhappy
- There are so many different aspects when it comes to social media. Photos, comments, articles, stories, links, and videos are just some of the categories that you can run into while doing your daily scroll through social media. My advice is to pick and choose what areas are making you unhappy. The great thing about social media is that you choose who you want to follow and who can follow you. Use this technique to your advantage when censoring out unwanted content on your feed.
- Stay on the positive side of reality
- Tip number 2 is extremely important. This tip goes with the Florida scenario I mentioned in my first paragraph. While scrolling through social media, train your brain to distinguish “Instagram versus reality.” Seeing a perfectly posed picture of an old high school friend modeling for a swimwear company can be overwhelming and confusing for your brain. It is important to acknowledge the beauty of the picture, but then to remember that in reality that person’s life isn’t perfect and they too endure struggles. Humans selectively choose what they share with their followers and that is something that you should always be reminding yourself for the best outcomes while using social media.
- Build a life that makes you happiest
- You too have the power to share whatever type of images and captions you want on your own social media page. Make sure it is a happy place that you want to go to. If fake content bothers you, make sure your content isn’t fake. You are the creator and you are allowed to show your life however you want it to look. My advice would be to share your real life. You don’t necessarily have to share the negative parts, but make it real. When someone asks you “Oh, how was your trip to NY this summer?” you want to be able to respond with the same type of positive energy you had posted online.
- Cut-out toxic relationships
- This tip happens to be my favorite and is honestly very powerful. Like I mentioned previously when it comes to social media, you have the power to decide who you follow and who follows you. Remove anyone who makes you feel unsettled, anxious, or upset. You don’t need to follow the lives of anyone who hasn’t served you. You should follow anyone who brings you peace, joy, and happiness online. You should not follow anyone whose ideals bring you negativity and darkness.
- Learn to let go
- Don’t hold on to a post or a standard of a post in your head. Don’t take a million pictures to post on Instagram and not be happy with a single one. Don’t try so hard, make social media a fun and exciting place. Use it to make connections and further your career. Don’t use it to compare yourself and pick out your inadequacies. Social media is all about having a positive mindset. Set yourself up for success.