‘OK, Bailey, how do you find social media wellness?’ Here’s the good news: Recognizing a problem is the first step to fixing it. So hearing this talk is just that, step one: recognize the problem. You know the power of suggestion, when someone tells you about something and you start seeing it everywhere.
That’s why awareness is critical. Because now you will at least be better able to recognize these effects if and when they happen to you.
The second thing you are going to do is audit your social media diet. The same way we monitor what goes into our mouth, monitor whatever goes into your head and heart. Ask yourself: ‘Did that Facebook scroll make me feel better or worse off?’ ‘How many times do I actually check likes?’ ‘Why am I responding this way to that photo?’ Then ask yourself if you are happy with the results.
You might be and that’s OK! But if you’re not, move on to step three. Create a better online experience. After my partner did his audit, he realized his self-worth was too tied up in social media, but particularly celebrities reminding him of the things he didn’t have. So he unfollowed all brands and all celebrities. That worked for him.
But it might not be celebrities for you. For me, I had to purge other people off my timeline. Let me tell you a secret. You do not have to follow your ‘friends’. The truth is that sometimes our friends, or the people we have on Facebook as a courtesy, they just suck online! You find yourself in this passive-aggressive status war you didn’t even know was happening.
Or you are looking at 50 photos of the same concert from the same angle. If you want to follow artists, or comedians, or cats, you can do that.
The last thing you will do is model good behavior. Offline we are taught not to bully other kids in the playground. We are taught to respect others and treat them how they deserve.
We are taught not to kick others when they are down, or take pleasure in their downfalls. Social media is a tool. A tool that can be used for good, for more positive groups, for revolutions, for putting grumpy cat in Disney movies. Internet is a weird place.
Is social media hurting your mental health? The answer is: it doesn’t have to. Social can tear you down, yes, or it can lift you up, where you leave feeling better off, or have an actual laugh-out-loud.
Finally, I have 24 hours in a day, if I spend two of those hours on social media, then I want my experiences to be full of inspiration, laughs, motivation, and a whole lot of grumpy cat in Disney movies.
Resources for Further Reading: