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6 ways to protect your mental health from social media's dangers

http://theconversation.com/6-ways-to-protect-your-mental-health-from-social-medias-dangers-117651

theconversation.com

6 ways to protect your mental health from social media's dangers
More than one-third of American adults view social media as harmful to their mental health, according to a new survey from the American Psychiatric Association. Just 5% view social media as being positive for their mental health, the survey found. Another 45% say it has both positive and negative effects.

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Limit social media

Using social media can interrupt and interfere with in-person communications

  • Commit to not checking social media during meals and when playing with children or talking with a partner. 
  • Make sure social media doesn’t interfere with work
  • Don’t keep your phone or computer in the bedroom – it disrupts your sleep.

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Have ‘detox’ periods

Schedule regular multi-day breaks from social media. 

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Pay attention to how you feel

Experiment with using your favorite online platforms at different times of day and for varying lengths of time, to see how you feel during and after each session.

You may find that a few short spurts help you feel better than spending 45 minutes exhaustively scrolling through a site’s feed. 

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Approach social media mindfully

If you look at Twitter first thing in the morning, think about whether it’s to get informed about breaking news you’ll have to deal with – or if it’s a mindless habit that serves as an escape from facing the day ahead. 

Each time you reach for your phone (or computer) to check social media, answer the hard question: Why am I doing this now? Decide whether that’s what you want your life to be about.

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Prune

Over time, you have likely accumulated many online friends and contacts, as well as people and organizations you follow. Some content is still interesting to you, but much of it might irrelevant. 

Unfollow, mute or hide contacts; the vast majority won’t notice. And your life will be better for it.

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Social media as substitute

Make sure interactions on social media don’t become a substitute for talking face to face. 

When used thoughtfully and deliberately, social media can be a useful addition to your social life, but only a flesh-and-blood person sitting across from you can fulfill the basic human need for connection and belonging.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Limit your use of social media

Limit your use of social media

Commit to not checking social media during meals with family and friends, and when playing with children or talking with a partner. 

Make sure social media doesn’t interfere with ...

Have “detox” periods

Even a five-day or weeklong break from Facebook can lead to lower stress and higher life satisfaction

Publicly declare you are on a break. And delete the apps for your favorite social media services.

You can also cut back without going cold turkey: limit your use of social media to 10 minutes a day for three weeks and you'll see improvements in your mental health. 

Pay attention to how you use social media

Experiment with using your favorite online platforms at different times of day and for varying lengths of time, to see how you feel during and after each session. 

You may find that a few short spurts help you feel better than spending 45 minutes exhaustively scrolling through a site’s feed. 

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Social media

The rise of social media has meant that we as a global population are more connected than we have ever been in the history of time. 

...

Self-esteem

A study conducted by the University of Copenhagen found that many people suffer from “Facebook envy”, with those who abstained from using the popular site reporting that they felt more satisfied with their lives. 

Becoming more conscious of the amount of time you spend scrolling through other people’s online profiles could help you focus more on yourself and boost your self-confidence.

Human connection

It’s so important for us to be able to communicate and forge personal connections with one another. However, it can be hard to do so when we’re glued to rectangular screens, becoming more acquainted with our friends’ digital facades than their real-life personas.

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology that assessed 5,208 subjects found that overall, regular use of Facebook had a negative impact on an individual’s wellbeing. 

Human nature is more than biology

Human nature is more than biology

The level of happiness is part of our genetic makeup - we have a set level and cannot rise above or fall below it.

Some scientists envision the day that we can manipulate our happiness ge...

Quantifying happiness

Happiness has always been difficult to quantify because it is subjective, depending on if you have a short- or a long-term outlook on life. Recently, researchers have started to distinguish between two types of happiness: 

  • Hedonic happiness that provides a mental high;
  • Eudaimonic happiness, a sense of well-being which involves a life well-lived.

The staples of happiness

People will always be happy when they see their children prosper when they feel loved, secure, and well-fed.

But, this formula for happiness is so obvious that most people dismiss it. They would rather look for a secret ingredient. The answer is that there is no secret.