5 Ways To Stop The Negative Effects Of Social Media
According to DemandSage.com, nearly 5 billion people use social media worldwide, which is more than half of the world’s population (61%). Experts predict that number will rise to 5.17 billion by 2024. It’s probably no surprise that Facebook leads the field with 3.05 billion users. The typical social media user is on six different platforms.
Social media has many benefits and can be a positive tool. It allows us to connect with family and friends and interact with businesses.
We can use it to preserve memories and share experiences or things of interest.
We can use it to learn new skills or teach others. Take YouTube, for example, you can learn just about anything you want to know, from fixing the garbage disposal to knitting a winter scarf!
Let’s not forget about Pinterest and its vast pictures and short reels. Then there are Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and others that offer images and videos with brief written explanations.
Despite these benefits, social media also has its disadvantages.
Research shows that spending too much time on these platforms can lead to increased stress, loneliness, isolation, and depression.
Claude Mellins, Professor of medical psychology in the Departments of Psychiatry and Sociomedical Sciences, writes, “Although there are important benefits, social media can also provide platforms for bullying and exclusion, unrealistic expectations about body image and sources of popularity, normalization of risk-taking behaviors, and can be detrimental to mental health.”
We need to be wise and protect our minds when using social media. Why? To maximize its benefits while minimizing its detrimental effects.
Here are five ways to do just that.
Customize Your Feed
Be ruthless. Social media exists for you; you don’t exist for social media.
People are not entitled to have access to your life. So, don’t let them guilt, shame, or manipulate you into thinking they should have a say in your life.
Keeping a small circle of virtual friends is perfectly okay (and perhaps even healthy).
Replace people and organizations with accounts that inspire and encourage you – that build you up and make you feel good about yourself.
Look for people who embrace their natural beauty and focus on wholesome things. Follow people who are constantly spreading positive words of motivation across their feeds.
Use this Ancient wisdom as your guide:
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8; New Living Translation.)
You are in charge of what kind of social media content streams into your mind and heart.
Be The Boss
How many times have you bombarded your mind with updates, news, and irrelevant posts as soon as your alarm goes off and you wake up?
This is one of the worst ways to start your day. It often leads to losing track of time, rushing out the door because you’re late, and adding unneeded stress and anxiety to your life.
Why let social media boss you around and dictate the quality and flow of your day? Isn’t it time for you to be the boss?
Instead, consider adding screen-free activities to your morning routine, like journaling, meditating, and practicing gratitude.
When you start scrolling through social media at a time of your choosing, set a time limit on how long you spend on each app. And don’t let the virtual world replace the real world.
Turn off Notifications
Just because you always have your phone with you doesn’t mean you must always be available. Cut yourself free from social media’s umbilical cord of relentless streams and feeds.
Give yourself a few minutes of peace and quiet or focused, uninterrupted time to do your work or something that’s really important to you.
Remember, social media makes its money through advertising dollars, so the apps are designed to interrupt your attention and hijack your focus to lure you to their feeds so they can generate revenue from ads.
One of the most effective ways to regain your precious time is to switch off notifications as often as is necessary during the day. Don’t let social media use you.
Be critical of social media and realize that most posts and reels you see are someone’s best moments; they only show you what they want you to see. They’re projecting an image or a brand; they’re not displaying their typical day-to-day life for the whole world to see.
Try this sometime today or this week: Set your phone down and be fully present in the moment.
Look around the room, notice how the light shines through the window, and listen to the different sounds around you; be aware and fully present.
Time yourself for sixty seconds. Breathe. Live. Soak in the sights, fragrances, and sounds of the world around you. If you’re brave enough, do this a few times a week or day to wean yourself off your addiction to social media.
Why not trade social media time for something more constructive with your time? Do something to improve your life by acquiring a new skill, write a paragraph of the next great American novel, resurrect an old hobby, read, exercise, enjoy a stroll in the sunshine, journal, draw, paint, or play a musical instrument, and more!
Live with passion and unlock your best life! Laugh, be curious, explore, celebrate love, and have adventures! Grow, serve, and give back instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media, living life through someone else’s screen.