Do you feel bad after using social media? If you do, chances are you don’t have healthy habits when it comes to using it. So when you use social media, you’re harming your wellbeing in the process.
Luckily there are a few things you can do to develop the right mindset and healthy habits to make you a happier, healthier social media user. Here are a few tips.
1. Moderate your use.
Social media is an excellent tool to not only connect the world, but give creators freedom to express themselves and build communities around their work. However, it also has a dark side.
The best brains in the world are working on designing these platforms in a way that makes you spend a lot of time on them. They’re making them addictive by using our brain chemistry against us. Do you feel that burning desire to check your account after posting to see if you got any likes? Does it feel good to get those likes? You get a hit of dopamine from each interaction and if you don’t moderate your use, you can get addicted to that feeling.
The phrase “moderate your use” is key here. Let’s not get too dramatic and close all your social media accounts in fear. That’s not a solution. Teaching yourself to use these great tools mindfully, however, is.
2. Don’t play the comparison game.
What people share on social media are the highlights of their lives. No matter how authentic they want to be, their image is still crafted and doesn’t reflect reality in all its details.
Do you envy an actor that seems to book job after job? Little do you know that she went years without booking anything, works three jobs just to get by, and this streak of luck was earned the hard way. Celebrate these highlights with people and don’t forget there is a story behind every post. We are all alike. We all have our ups and downs. Nobody is actually living their Instagram lives.
3. Have a purpose.
The key is to have a purpose behind your actions. Just checking what’s going on is not a purpose. That’s how you lose hours of your time without actually achieving anything, followed by feeling bad about it. On the other hand, going online with the purpose of making meaningful connections, whether supporting your friends or actively networking, or posting a piece of content to engage your community, are examples of purposeful activities that lead to good feelings.
4. Never start and end your day scrolling through social media.
Checking social media in the morning sets the tone of your day with a reactive activity. Instead, dedicate your morning to yourself by planning your day over breakfast, going for a run, practicing yoga, etc. If you end your day by scrolling through social media, your brain is still active in processing what you saw. The blue light from your screen suppresses the secretion of melatonin in your brain, which affects your sleep.
Both activities are unhealthy and yet we all do them mindlessly, not realizing the long-term negative impact it has on our health and wellbeing. This is why it’s important to work on building healthy habits.
*This post was originally published on Jan. 3, 2020. It has since been updated.
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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.