For most of us, social media is an inescapable part of our everyday lives and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere soon. We’re all too familiar with the negative impact that social media can have on our mental health if used excessively and unhealthily. However this doesn’t have to be the case. When used sensibly, social media offers a great way to stay connected with others as well as providing a platform for positive change. If you’re looking to stay in control of your social media usage the following guide might be just what you need…
- Declutter your feed
Take the time to consider your emotional reactions to your feed and use this to unfollow the accounts that have a negative impact upon your mood. Posts that leave you feeling insecure or irritated don’t need to be on your newsfeed so take control of your account by unfollowing or deleting them. Think about who you really want to stay connected with and consider unfollowing the people you never speak to anymore. Removing negative accounts in this way will make your overall experience of social media a lot more positive going forward.
- Follow inspiring accounts instead
Amongst all the negatives, there are a huge number of inspiring people using social media as a positive force for change. Follow accounts that you find inspiring and that have a positive impact on your mental health. Use social media to follow great people doing great things whether that’s a social campaigner, a comedian, adventure blogger– you decide. Think about what inspires you and follow accounts that align with your values and goals.
- Limit Your Social Media Time
We spend a lot of time on our phones and it can be all too easy to waste hours scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. If you’re concerned about how much time you’re spending on social media, limit your social media usage by scheduling allotted social media time, such as one hour per day. Gradually you’ll feel less reliant upon reaching for your phone and you’ll also free up more time to do other more productive activities.
- Be active not passive
Research has suggested that social media users who ‘lurk’ through their newsfeed passively without commenting or interacting with posts are much more likely to have a negative experience of social media than users who comment and engage with posts. Scrolling without commenting is like being an outsider to a conversation which can cause feelings of isolation. By engaging you can make the most of the social powers of social media and use it to share positive comments with others.
- Don’t be afraid to take a break
When you feel like you need a complete break from social media, don’t be afraid to log out from or even delete your accounts for a day, a week or a month. Use the time you would have been spending on social media to reconnect with the real world. It can be really refreshing to step away from the screen for a bit and you might be surprised at how much you enjoy having the extra time to do other things.