It’s time for the second part of “The Happiness Perspective”. The first topic covered was success, which can be found HERE. This time I’m diving into the topic of social media because let’s face it – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr – whatever platform you may favor, they play a massive role in our life and can have an effect on our wellbeing without us fully realizing it.
Raise your hand if you have at least one active social media account. Raise your hand if you have multiple active social media accounts. Practically everybody in the world would be raising their hands. I myself am guilty of spending far too much time when I should be doing actual work just browsing social media endlessly. It wasn’t until recently, I realized there could be more downfalls than low productivity.
There have been multiple studies in recent years that have shown the more time you spend on social media, the more likely it negatively correlates to our mood and mental health. I know sometimes studies seem far fetched from everyday life, but let’s take a moment and think – we’ve all been there when we see a status that just leaves us grumbling or a picture that makes us feel we’re missing out. Those feelings happen repetitively due to social media.
Social media has made our basic human nature to compare, almost a social comparison on steroids. It’s constantly our lives vs the others and it always seems like everyone else has it better. You log online and it’s full of travels, engagements, and wonderful delights. It’s nothing but good, great, and wonderful shoved in your face. All it does is bring home the bad in your life as you may not have a significant other or can’t find a job. But when was the last time you showcased the negative aspects of your life? I can bet it hasn’t been with a high frequency. Most of the things people feature on social media are the positive moments. We forget that though – that we’re only looking at a highlight reel and comparing it to our whole entire dirty closets of our lives. I know it may seem like some people are Grammy going, world traveling, doing nothing but concert hopping, and just living the high life (sound familiar?) But I can assure you that they have their struggles too, they just may not be choosing to share them with the entire world on social media. We all have our insecurities, fights with loved ones, rejection, and problems a-plenty.
When the rare complaints and drama on social media occur they effect us in a different way. They bring us down. No matter the mood, seeing someone else’s baggage and bad days can turn us into a major grouch. It’s contagious. Then there’s things on certain sites like Tumblr where it’s easy to fall into a hateful trap because they have anonymous features. People may message you or you may message others and be vicious because it’s simply the atmosphere and it’s easy to fall into that headspace without realizing the damage it causes.
We obviously don’t want to give up social media (and it does have positive aspects) but how do you not let it get to you quite as bad?
Here’s my tips for conquering social media and letting your happiness shine.
- Stop the self-hate talk and comparison fear. I know you can’t completely avoid it, but if you notice yourself really getting down on yourself, try and stop. Realize that you don’t post certain things either. Remember the good that has happened in your life – even if it’s the little things.
- Refocus your energy on what is important. The more time you spend jealous of others, the more time you’re missing out accomplishing things in your life. Check that attitude and figure out what you want out of life and what you feel is missing and go after it. By focusing on your priorities instead of worrying over others you may get that life you’ve been wanting.
- We all have those people we follow that we just cringe when we see their updates. All they do is effect our moods in one way or another. Simple, unfollow/unfriend them. You don’t need social media to be another thing to dread because of stress. An online connection isn’t the end of the world. If it’s somebody who will really rock the boat if you unfollow/unfriend them, both Twitter and Facebook (other social media networks too) have handy mute tools. Tada – suddenly it’s like they aren’t even there without any hurt feelings.
- Turn off all social media notifications to your phone. We’re trained to be like Pavlov’s dogs when we get a new update. It’s instant gratification that we continuously need and are left disappointed with time and time again. Don’t worry about likes or comments or how many people will enjoy your selfie. Do things and post things for YOU. Instead of waiting and anticipating your online life, why don’t you actually live and enjoy your real life?
- Moderation. It’s the most important word in social media. The internet can be a wonderful place, but you need your time away from it. Even a blogger social media-holic like me doesn’t spend all my days online. Put limits on your usage, whether that’s setting a time and a specific length you can spend on social media each day, or randomly taking long breaks. This can be done multiple ways. Both Facebook and Twitter allow you to deactivate your account for short periods of time and come back with everything as is. Ask a significant other or friend you trust to lock you out and password change your account. There’s even various websites depending on your computer model that will block certain websites for you other than allotted usage. Don’t allow social media to quickly go from a few minutes to hours of your life without you blinking an eye.
- Go out and do things! It’s as simple as that. If you have FOMO (fear of missing out) than go do the things you’re worried about not doing. Have lunch with friends and see with that face to face interaction – you’ll also find it’s much more likely for people to admit their stumbles and discuss both the highs and lows in person. You’ll find out your not alone in your struggles, while doing “social media worthy activities” without even realizing it.
Do you have any tips on how to handle social media so it doesn’t impede with your happiness?
Coming up next in the series is the very important subject of self-love.
P.S. – Having genuine experiences is the best way to break social media, as I did when I visited the LBJ museum in Austin, Texas.
Until next time,