Your physical space isn’t the only thing that needs a little sprucing up this spring! Your mental space and peace deserve a little cleaning up as well and your social media accounts are the perfect place to start!
The Hidden Mess Social Media May Be Making
Activity spent on social media is proven to release the chemical dopamine, which in turn gives us the same pleasurable feeling that things like food, sex, and other positive activities release. Due to this similarity it also means that social media can be just as addictive as some of those things for its users. According to the Pew Research Center, 69% of adults and 81% of teens in the United States are on social media apps like Instagram and Facebook.
The problem here is that feelings of positivity are not the only ones that social media creates. In fact, feelings of anxiety and depression are commonly reported especially in teens and adults. These feelings can be provoked by things like comparison, jealousy, inaccurate and false information and outlooks, and the inability to step away or feel overwhelmed by the apps themselves.
Here are a few easy steps to get that spring cleaning underway!
Strep 1: Time to Take Inventory
Knowing how overwhelming social media can be and some of the negative effects being on the apps can have, set aside time to take some personal inventory. What feelings do you find come up when participating in social media? As you go about your day ask yourself the following to see where your “spring cleaning” needs are:
- How often am I viewing and sharing on social media throughout my day?
- Where do I find myself using these apps most frequently, mobile or computer?
- How do I feel after I close out social media vs. before I was on it?
- What positive behaviors or decisions do I notice are influenced by social media?
- What negative behaviors or decisions do I notice are influenced by social media?
Each of these questions will help you take personal inventory of how social media may be playing a role in your day. As you look at your response, think about how you would want to change it for the better and what might be getting in the way.
Step 2: Decide What Stays and What Goes
You don’t have to go on a complete social media blackout, but improving your relationship and mental well being does involve giving your apps a little overhaul! The same way you would go through a closet or pantry, deciding what to keep and what to toss is the best approach to take to see a difference.
Unfollow people and accounts that don’t bring you joy! That’s right, it’s time to Marie Kondo your social media! If you find that specific posts tend to add negativity or make you spiral into comparison it’s time to remove them from the app. You can also “hide” notifications and accounts that you know personally and don’t want them to know you’re unfollowing or unfriending them.
Step 3: Set Boundaries to Help Prevent Future Mess
The same way you would set parental controls on a child’s electronic device, sometimes we need the same boundaries. If you’re finding you are pulled to scroll through your device more than what you feel is a healthy amount, add an app like Freedom that you can find on iOS, Android, or Desktop to track your time on productivity draining apps like Instagram or Pinterest.
Remember that social media can easily pull you in with minutes to hours of your day spent being on the app scrolling without realizing some of the negative effects happening to your mental state. Be intentional about the time you’re spending on any of your apps and pay close attention to what feels good and what doesn’t, in order to keep your relationship with social media as healthy as possible.