Do you think Social Media is taking over your life at times?
It’s a bit of a daunting question . Often something that we aren’t likely to admit or don’t want to admit.
But…How often do you find yourself picking up or glancing at your phone? Or aimlessly trawling through social media apps.
If you are anything like me the answer would likely be often. Although I’m rather ashamed to admit it.
I go through phases of over usage, and sustainable usage. I often can tell my social media usage is becoming too much as anxiety and the feelings of not being enough creep in.
Any spare minute I end up ‘checking’ Facebook again. As if anything interesting would have popped up in the last 10 minutes. As if things would change remarkably in 10 minutes. You never know unless you check though do ya?!
When not kept in check our social media usage can have a real effect on our mental health.
Constant notifications causing increasing anxiety; while many posts can leave us doubting ourselves.
I have found the constant trawling can be very self destructive. It leads me down a rabbit hole of self doubt and anxiety. If not kept in check it can become an issue that creeps into my everyday life.
Research indicates that the volume of social media use is a crucial factor in predicting mental health outcomes. More explicitly, several studies show that a more significant number of hours spent on social media daily is linked to both anxious and depressive symptomatology (Lin et al., 2016; Vannucci, Flannery, & Ohannessian, 2017). However, findings are not conclusive.https://positivepsychology.com/social-media-effects/ (Findings Related to Depression and Anxiety)
It’s not all bad though some social media usage is consider good for our well-being
Social media; If used mindfully can have a positive effect on our well-being. It’s a great way to keep up to date and in touch with others around us, especially those that live far away. It’s a matter of finding the right balance for you.
One of the biggest pros of social media is that it encourages prosocial behavior. It enables us to connect with like-minded people, even if they are not in our immediate families or communities. This can be particularly important for ethnic or sexual minority youth, who may often experience feared stigma and loneliness (Larson, Wilson, Brown, Furstenberg, & Verma, 2002; Hogan & Strasburger, 2018).https://positivepsychology.com/social-media-effects/ (The Other Side of the Coin: 4 Positive Effects)
Here’s My tips for using Social Media Mindfully
1, Turn Notifications off
Notifications are there to lure you in. Facebook, Instagram and all the others want you on there app’s. They want you engaging in there products. Whether or not it is of benefit to you. At the very least turn the sound notifications off. These are a major distraction and call you to pick up your phone. Often triggering a FOMO. Less notifications means less alerts and need to check your phone. Thus allowing you to live life in the present and not your online presence.
If you find turning off notifications isn’t enough rearrange your home screen so the apps are not right there and you have to scroll to find them. If you still find yourself drawn to them remove them completely so all temptation is gone.
2, Have an idea of what you want to gain
Are you on social media to keep in contact with those far away from you. Do you use it to keep up to date or connect with new people. Whatever it is you want to gain make sure who you friend and follow aligns with these. Having a purpose for scrolling means you aren’t wasting your time aimlessly browsing.
3, Set time away from Social Media
Are you like me and find yourself unconsciously opening Facebook, while your waiting for something or someone? Or in the hope to find something new or more exciting than what you are currently doing. These are times we need to make a conscious effort to leave our phones alone.
Having set times away from your phone is important and breaks the habit of using it as an escape. If your around with friends and family leave the phone in your bag. Think about your usage around the home and make phone free time, for example from 6pm onwards no devices. With notifications turned off you can have your phone with you but not be drawn to the constant buzz.
When you are with people make sure you are present and not attached to your phone. It shows a level of disinterest in those around and they can soon become distant from you. If you struggle with a constant urge to pick up your phone wrap a rubber band or hair tie around it, this can give you a visual cue that will stop you in your tracks when you thoughtlessly pick up your phone.
4, Clean up your timelines
Remove anything that doesn’t align with you. Including pages you follow and people you have friended. Never feel pressured into adding friends because you feel you should. This goes for both past and present acquaintances . If there values don’t align with yours don’t add them.
Also be picky about who you follow. Following News and Media on social media can be detrimental to our mental wellness. Being bombarded with stressful news is likely to increase our own anxiety and tension. Visiting News websites rather than following them will allow you control what you view.
5, Get off your phone in the evenings.
We all know how blue lights can be disrupt our sleeping patterns. It is best not to use back lit devices at least 2 hours before bed time. A great way to combat this is to make sure you are not using your phone as an alarm clock, if you have to go and buy a cheap clock for the bedroom.
Set up a charging somewhere in your home out of sight and put your phone away at a time that suits you and your bedtime routine. (8pm is a good time) If you find yourself wanting or in need of something to do why not try reading a book (here’s a few suggestions if you need), try some relaxing bedtime yoga or meditation. All of these things will allow you to get a much better sleep and time away from your device.
It’s taken a long time to find the perfect balance of usage and I still get it wrong.
So don’t be discouraged if you find yourself yo-yoing backwards and forwards for awhile. As with anything new we need time to adjust and reset our habits. With time and some careful thought you will be well on your way to more mindful Social Media usage. Creating better habits for both your mental and physical well being.