Social media and online interactions are a common part of daily life for many of us. However, the unfortunate truth is that it can be easy to fall into patterns of unhealthy behavior when it comes to the way we use these online tools.
Online tools such as these are incredibly versatile in their uses. Like all tools, they are only dangerous if we do not understand or respect them. However, as is true with most things in life, they do not come with a set of instructions and cautions. Therefore, taking the time to understand how to use something in a healthy way is an important part of the process.
One of the major costs of social media is time. Humans are wired to look for social interaction, and it can be incredibly rewarding. Therefore, it can be incredibly easy to fritter away hours mindlessly browsing social media, as it can create an illusion of social interaction. If we are not being mindful of the time we are spending on social media, we might waste more time than we realize. Therefore, one of the best ways to develop a healthy relationship with it is to start by tracking the time you spend. Find a tool or method, and look at how much time you spend, and how frequently you check social media apps and platforms. At the end of the week, look at the time you have spent. It might surprise you.
Another problem with social media is that it can give us unrealistic ideas about others and ourselves. Overuse of social media has been linked to things such as depression. One possible cause is that we are constantly comparing every moment of our lives with the high points in other people’s lives. Spending too much time doing this can leave us unhappy and making unfair comparisons. Spending less time comparing our lives to those of others and more time ensuring that we are happy with what we are doing is a much better way to proceed.
Finally, make sure that you completely disconnect from social media when you are doing other things. If you are working or spending time with someone, completely cut off the social media. Close your browser tab, put away your phone, and put it out of your mind. Spend time living in the present, and choose to disconnect from the false reality for periods of time.