Social Media and Emotional Health

I often hear myself say that social media is everyone’s highlights package or show reel.  And it is true!  People can portray their lives exactly how they want them to appear to others on social media and everyone will believe them.

Some people put in some serious effort when doing this… styled plates of food, beautiful homes, amazing holidays, celebrations with friends and family.  If it weren’t for social media would they share all of these special experiences as freely and widely as they do?  I am old enough to remember the days when photos were circulated vie email to a select few or printed placed in an envelope to arrive in the post.

Personally, I am very cautious about what and how I post on social media.  First you’ll be hard pressed to find much about my personal life online and I limit my usage and consumption to two platforms; namely Facebook and LinkedIn for my business.  I made a very conscious decision three years ago to be more private online.  It honestly has made me both happier and freer.  I don’t feel any pressure to post anything and more importantly it removes a platform for comparison which is essentially what social media is about these days.  It’s ability to connect people has become secondary in my opinion.

So how else can we look after our emotional health online?  Simple.  Unfollow.  When a post irks me, makes me feel uncomfortable I unlike, unfollow, unfriend.  Our lives are so full and we are bombarded by messages constantly and it is my responsibility, not anyone else’s, to monitor and decide what I let inside.

Here are some more ways to simply and easily clean up:

1. The moment you see or read content that you don’t like remove it from your feed.  You’ll know because it will bring up a feeling inside you but the opposite kind of feeling to the one that makes you decide to follow “healthy” content in the first instance.

2. If your friend list is longer than you would like, when Facebook announces a birthday, consider deleting that person – within 12 months you’ll have only the friends you want and care to know about showing up in your feed.  Bonus, only they will see your content in their feed.  Your clean up cleans up other people’s feeds too.  Don’t worry about hurting people’s feeling – it is unlikely they will even notice.

3. Go to your profile and check how many pages / accounts you’re following.  Think about that number for a minute. If it’s big, it’s like letting a fire-hose of comparison into your life.   Additionally, scrolling through your feed might be taking WAY more time than you intend.

4. Click on that number and then take a proper look, consider one by one how the content makes you feel.  Do you feel like you’re deficient – or “not enough” in some way.  If so, remove it.  You don’t have to consume it.

5. Unfollow any page / account that make your doubt yourself or the life you’re building. Give yourself the permission!

6. Think before you like a page, spend some time on it and decide if it will provide any value.  It is not necessary to accept every invitation to like a page – we don’t accept every invitation to every outing.

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