3 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health in a Fast Paced Social Media World

I grew up in a time when mental health wasn’t discussed pretty much at all, and when it was, it was a source of shame and embarrassment. One of the many advantages to social media becoming the phenomenon it is, is the discussion and acceptance it has created surrounding mental health. Between campaigns such as #BellLetsTalk and #HereForYou, speaking up and advocating for your own and other’s mental health has all but become the norm. While social media has allowed such an amazing achievement, considering where we were a mere decade ago in terms of the conversation surrounding mental health, it has also brought upon an onslaught of potential triggers that can negatively impact your mental health. Though at times it may seem impossible to escape the negativity being shared in social media, it is invaluable to put the following steps into practice to protect your psyche.

1. Define What News or Posts Negatively Affect You

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In the past few years social media feeds have taken a turn, not necessarily for the worse, but the subject matter has definitely heightened. Once, your feed was simply a place to share milestones with your friends and family, now when you sign on you can expect to either witness or take part in discussions or arguements running the gauntlet with everything from politics to religion. The hot topics we were warned against discussing in the past have become the very topics that fill our newsfeeds each and every day. While for many this can have little to no impact on their day to day lives, for more it is a constant source that can trigger anxiety and depression, to name a few. Though it is impossible to stop the constant flow of these conversations and articles without deleting your social media accounts all together, it is possible to do a self assessment to see exactly which topics bring up those feelings of overwhelm or dread. Being able to take a stockpile and identify the topics that triggers you, will allow you to begin to use social media with less apprehension and more ease.

2. Unfollow or Block Triggering People

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Though social media is an absolute gift that has allowed us to connect and reconnect with family and friends from your past, it has also brought forth a lot of challenges when dealing with all of these people. In the past we wouldn’t see any of these people for months, maybe even years so catching up would always be on a superficial level. Now, you see their thoughts and opinions day in and day out, which can be absolutely fine, except that not only has social media allowed us to share our opinions, it has also given us a platform to fearlessly voice opinions that are controversial or taboo. Suddenly your sweet little old aunt is sharing memes with some serious racial undertones and you are stuck between a rock and a hard place with how to deal with it. Whilst it can be easy to think “Why not just call her out on it?” Quite often, the dynamics behind such a conversation are much more complex, or, people simply aren’t comfortable with that type of conversation. Thankfully, most social media outlets now have the option to ‘unfollow’ or ‘snooze’ someone, which merely allows one to hide what another party shares from their main newsfeed. This is an amazing feature that allows you to avoid dealing with some uncomfortable topics and conversations, without hurting someone’s feelings or upsetting family dynamics. The next option, if you are in a position where you  are either in an extremely hostile situation or being contacted by an estranged relative, for example, is to block said person. This feature is indispensable, as it allows you to completely stop any unwanted contact in its tracks. It is simply up to you to decide if you need to cut yourself off from someone’s opinions or cut contact altogether to ensure you are choosing the right path with limiting your exposure to someone.

3. Find Balance 

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It goes without saying that social media has not only become a huge part of most of the world’s lives, but it can also become absolutely consuming to some. Notifications in the form of comments, likes, tags and shares can quickly go from a quick check on your phone to being glued to your phone for hours, scrolling aimlessly while waiting for a new notification. With the rise of social media has come another experience I’m sure few ever anticipated: Social Media Addiction. Although we won’t go in depth into social media addiction, just know that not only is it a very real condition, it also aids and abets in other mental health issues. As such, it is absolutely vital to begin to create boundaries within your social media activity to bring some balance within your life. While it can be amazing to connect and experience different cultures through the scope of social media, it is imperative that we remember to look up from the screen and experience life surrounding us. Take this time to do things that make you remember what you love about yourself, or make it an opportunity to continue to learn things about yourself by trying something new. Regardless of how you use this time, chances are, it will allow you time to decompress from all of the information constantly bombarding your brain thanks to social media. That decompressing, or ‘unplugging’ is needed in order to help protect your mental health. We are only given so many trips around the sun, and none of them are promised to us, as such, it is crucial to remember to experience all that life has to offer on screen and off. Balance is the key to maintaining a stable mental health state.

While I’m certain you have benefited from the creation of social media, have you found that you have had to take measures to safeguard your mental health from it?

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2 thoughts on “3 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health in a Fast Paced Social Media World

    • Thank you so much for commenting. I couldn’t agree more, I find it becoming more and more relevant with the evolution of social media as well!

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