There is no doubt that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social networking site have their benefits. With countless users around the world and more joining on a daily basis, it is clear that social media is a force to be reckoned with.
But are you getting more than you bargained for?
Psychologists now recognize that for some users, the world of social media carries dangers. Symptoms ranging from relatively minor (mild disappointment) to more severe (suicidal thoughts) are widespread enough to generate a new diagnosis: depression on Facebook.
How do you feel when you log into your favorite social media site? What do you get out of it? Could you be at risk for depression or already feeling its effects?
My 3R technique is a great way to identify some of the side effects that come with using social media, and more importantly, start making changes if your mental and physical well-being is suffering. Grab a sheet of paper and a pen, and we’ll go through the steps: Recognize, Reframe, Recover, together.
ACKNOWLEDGE what is happening. First, assess what happens to you when you log into your favorite social media site.
– Do you have uneasy feelings or a vague feeling that something is wrong when you view your account?
– Do you turn on the computer with a sense of anticipation, but quickly feel defeat taking its place when you review your connection statistics?
– Do you feel happy about your connections when you see that many things happen in their lives, or do you feel disappointed because it did not happen to you?
– Are you worried that you will miss something when you are not online?
– Do you compare your statistics with those of other users? If so, do the numbers induce feelings of jealousy, discontent, or superiority? Do these feelings subside after you leave the site or do they add color to your offline world?
MODIFY your thoughts and actions. It will take a mindset shift to overcome the negative effects of too many social media. Depression of any kind does not go away just because you are aware of it. You should take action by rephrasing your negative responses first. For example,
“My number is small and my network is not growing.”
“I can fully trust each of my genuine connections.”
“No one has responded to my last five messages.”
“I can communicate by replying to five other people’s posts today.”
“I am alone.”
“I can call my tennis partner and make an appointment.”
“My status as a professional can be measured by the responses of others, or the lack of them.”
“I can be proud of the image I have created for myself / my business without the help of social media.”
“This tension headache won’t go away.”
“I can work away from the computer for the next hour.”
“Everyone else’s life seems to be a constant emotion.”
“I can plan a live event or an outing with my friends or colleagues.”
Sixteen those negatives, and identify a way to work them out in your favor by taking control and responsibility. By doing so, you create a new habit of thinking and acting healthier.
RECOVER your health and well-being. Changing the way you think is an important step, but it is not the last. Deliver on those new and positively reframed messages: Follow up with action.
When it comes to social media, this may need to be done offline. You won’t be cured of depression, stress, or anxiety by spending more time on social media. Instead, treat online networking like any other business or personal task – make an appointment for it. Reserve a spot on your schedule for social media, and when it’s not that time, give your undivided attention to all the other priorities in your world. Take all those hours and mental energy that you’ve been spending on your online profile and use them instead to nurture and embrace your true self.
One more status update, one more profile update, one more follower, none of that is worth jeopardizing your health and well-being. Because remember, no one lives or dies according to Facebook statistics. YOU, the person, are worth much more than the sum of your statistics.