I love Facebook, but the negative effects of social media can also leave me feeling depressed.
For instance, once, I opened my Facebook homepage only to be presented with a Facebook Memory from a year ago.
It was a photo of my wrecked car because of a hit-and-run incident.
Many of my friends at the time did not post comments acknowledging the accident, which hurt even more.
This experience got me questioning if using social media is really worth it.
Do the negative effects of social media outweigh the benefits?
That was not the only time I felt bad or inadequate after going on Facebook.
Other times, my mood soured after reading a status update, looking at photos of friends on their dream vacation, or viewing a photo of a person I disliked despite being “friends” on Facebook.
Of course, not every interaction on Facebook or other social media is a triggering event.
Sometimes, you gain valuable connections and have meaningful interactions on social media, so it can be a bit of a dilemma.
However, social media can have other negative effects, like:
- disrupting your sleep
- distracting you from your work or tasks
- feeling peer pressure or being bullied
- comparing yourself to unrealistic expectations of other people’s lives
Each of these effects can harm your physical or mental health, sometimes both!
However, you can prevent some of the negative effects of social media and learn to position your social media in a way that serves you positively.
Remember that you’re in charge of your emotions even when using social media.
I revamped my social media experience by creating an account on Instagram.
I began my Instagram journey by co-hosting a challenge on behalf of my yoga studio and have since had an amazingly positive experience.
However, others are still negatively affected by their social media interactions.
Is there a way to end or prevent the negative effects of social media?
7 Ways To Stop The Negative Effects of Social Media
Below are seven ways that you can stop the negative effects of social media and find more balance, positivity, and peace with social media in your life.
Share your favorite way to stop the negative effects of social media in the comment section.
1. Take a Break
Taking a break from social media allows you to rest, recharge, and regroup.
You can clear your mind to prioritize yourself and other aspects of your life.
Taking a break could give you a new perspective and appreciation for the life you live.
Taking breaks also boosts productivity.
Based on a 2011 study, the brain stops reacting to constant stimulation because it adapts and registers the stimulation as unimportant.
This results in a lack of focus, loss of productivity, and boredom, which can lead to feelings of sadness and depression.
Taking a break for a short or extended period can improve your mood and how you react to the negative effects of social media.
Finally, how often have you checked social networks while having dinner with family or friends?
When you take a break, you can be present in your own life and for others.
You can even contribute to the conversation and laughter.
2. Create an Intention
My intent for using Facebook was to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances near and far.
When I deviated from that intent, I became vulnerable to social media’s negative effects.
With Instagram, however, I have remained committed to an intention.
Creating an intention keeps you focused on your purpose for the account.
It could prevent the social comparison that naturally happens when we go on social media.
You are also less vulnerable to the triggers that make you feel bad about yourself and your life.
3. Connect with Those That Lift You Up, not Put You Down
They pressured me into accepting Facebook friend requests at my worst job ever.
I did not care for the individuals that requested to connect.
However, I accepted the request to be in good standing for that job.
Unfortunately, that ruined my Facebook experience because those individuals’ photos, comments, and notifications often reminded me of how poorly they treated me in real life.
Don’t make the same mistake I did.
Instead, connect with the people, places, and things that lift you up and make you happy.
Connect because you want to!
4. Change Your Perspective
There are at least two ways to look at photos, status updates, and comments.
You can choose to see all that is negative and dark (the skull) or all that is positive and non-threatening (the woman sitting in front of a mirror).
Using an example from social media, when you see a photo of your friend and his or her new significant other, you can choose to be jealous because you are single, or you can choose to be happy for their new relationship.
Choose the positive perspective and be happy for your friend.
You can improve your social media experience when you choose to view things from a positive point of view.
Therefore, you are more likely to find joy, inspiration, and laughter on social media.
5. Keep Your Content Positive
Negative content can trigger negative emotions.
It can cause you to assume the worst about everything.
Worse, you might have difficulty accepting good things in your life because you don’t believe you deserve them.
Ultimately, you become a negative person.
Conversely, positive content encourages you to be positive, which is good for your health!
According to the Mayo Clinic, being positive helps to ward off stress and boosts your immunity, which increases your resistance to illnesses such as the common cold.
In addition, you are more likely to take better care of yourself because of your positive state.
6. Contribute to the Cause
According to a study, users who are actively posting, commenting, liking, and sharing content are more likely to feel a sense of bonding and inclusiveness with others on social media.
The user is also less likely to compare him or herself to others.
Comparisons often lead to feelings of envy and jealousy.
Passive users are more likely to feel depressed and experience feelings of loneliness.
Instead of being the passive user who scrolls mindlessly through photos and updates, contribute to the virtual community!
7. Remember That You Are In-Charge
Ultimately, you are responsible for your emotions.
It is not Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other forms of social media that run you.
It is you.
You can help manage your emotions by staying in control despite the negative effects of social media.
Here is how:
- You control who can see your posts
- You control who can and cannot comment
- You can remove something or someone if you dislike what you see
- You can even block a person or report inappropriate content
- You ultimately decide whether you accept or reject a connection request
Remember, you are in charge!
How do the negative effects of social media affect you?
I now turn to Instagram when I want to smile or laugh.
It has also become a valuable resource for inspiration and growth.
For example, it has helped me improve my yoga practice, plan vacations, and discover new interests.
I’ve developed a few virtual friendships, and I have even met some of these friends in person!
Instagram does not make me depressed because, unlike Facebook, I took certain steps to ensure a positive experience.
You deserve to be happy, so position your social media in a way that serves you positively.
Cheers to a positive experience—and goodbye to the negative effects of social media!
What’s your experience with social media?
How do you deal with the negative effects of social media?
I’d love to hear your stories.
Tell me in the comment section.