We may not realize it, but social media can affect the way we feel about ourselves.
We are living in a very interesting time. Social media not only connects us to all of the people in our social circles, but it also exposes us to more news, more media, and much more information than we got before the advent of the internet.
Bullying on social media is an obvious problem of which we are all aware, but many of us probably don’t realize the effect that social media has on our moods, our self-esteems, and our overall happiness.
According to a report in 2014 by the Women’s Media Center, 71 percent of women use social networking sites, compared to only 62 percent of men.
According to a 2012 Harvard study, posting on social media hits the brain in the reward center and releases dopamine, giving us the same kind of pleasure as a delicious meal or sex. The adverse of that is that social media can increase feelings of inadequacy, and can negatively affect our sleep patterns, and increase our anxiety.
A study done by the University of Albany found that social networking can become addictive, and draws parallels between using social media and other vices, like gambling. The key is obviously to be mindful of how you spend your time on social media, and you can do that by following these tips:
READ MORE: The Bad Food Habits of Millennials
Limit yourself. Limiting the time you spend on social media to specific times will help you develop some willpower, and fit in with your schedule. Using social media while commuting, for the first 15 minutes of your lunch, or for 30 minutes after work are good examples of how to fit it into your day.
Focus on the positive. Screen out negativity on your social media sites by unfollowing or blocking negative friends. If you find social media getting you down, watch a cat video on Youtube—it always helps cheer me up.
Be realistic. One big problem with social media is jealousy. What you need to bear in mind when looking about how fabulous other people’s lives are is that social media is a way to curate your lives for other people. The other moms that make it look so easy are stepping in as much baby poo as you, but they don’t share it with the world, and we should thank them for that. The grass will always look greener on social media, and that is kind of the point.
Put your phone on airplane mode any time you really want to shut off. This will help keep you from grabbing for it every five minutes, and signal to your brain that you are disconnected and can focus on yourself.
Stalk yourself on Instagram. If you find yourself feeling down, spend some time to go through your photos on social media. Remember that everyone is displaying a certain image of themselves, including yourself. Taking a look at your own story might remind you that things aren’t that bad.
Lastly, just be aware of how social media is affecting you. If you find yourself feeling negative or jealous, you are probably just using social media as an escape, and should see if any of these tips will help you transform it into a more positive experience.