Happiness and social media

by - January 26, 2018

Social media icons and emojis

Social media. Incredible in so many different ways. It's a way of spreading love, positivity, connecting with people, awareness, helping out others and keeping in touch with people. But, sometimes it does the opposite - it can be negative, draining, can make you miserable and is something time consuming that leaves you feeling empty.

We have all heard the research and the negative aspects of social media on the news and how it can affect mental health. But, that doesn't have to be the case if we use social media in different ways. Social media can be what you make of it. So here are a few ways to use social media in a way that will have a more positive impact on your life...

Follow accounts you genuinely like and enjoy. Things that will make you laugh, inspire you, give you hope, motivate you to be a better person. If someone's posts aren't making you happy, stop following them. Follow for follow seems to be a massive thing on social media and when you apply it to real life and think about it, it does not make much sense. When you think of real life, you don't just become friends with someone based on some verbal agreement/ practice that you have to be friends with everyone you meet or know. It's something much more natural, where you have a connection and mutually accept and respect each other. If someone is not making you happy or you just aren't a right match, you walk away. Let's treat social media in the same way. If their posts are making you feel more miserable than happy, then it's probably a sign that you shouldn't be following them. No grudges needed, no hate needed. You are different people. There's no shame in putting your mental health and happiness first. If you don't enjoy someone's posts, it's unlikely that you feel any real connection to them anyway. You probably would not hang a great deal around a person with who you have no connection to in real life- there is no difference when it comes to social media.

Forget likes, forget followers. Post what you want to post (as long as it is not offensive, does not go against the guidelines of the social media etc.), whenever you want. Social media is something you are meant to enjoy and share photos or posts because you want to. Not necessarily for other people to heart it or follow you.  It's surprisingly easy to get caught up in the ideas of likes and followers. It's an built in ideal that the more likes and followers, the more popular you are and so the 'better' you are. In reality, unless you make a living on social media where you need high engagement, any likes and comments are all virtual. There is nothing tangible or real about likes on a post so don't stress it. The moment you start thinking about what you are posting and worrying about whether people will like it is the moment it stops being fun. Post what you like because you'll enjoy it more. You'll also attract similar people and more of the people who have more of a real connection and it will be more authentic.

When you are feeling down, don't go on social media. Most people will post their highlights on social media and moments where they were happy, which is of course completely fine. You want to remember and document happy moments. Scrolling through lots of photos of people looking super happy whilst you are upset can make you feel worse than you already did rather than better. Humans naturally compare. And this becomes really easy when you can see what the world is up to quite literally through a couple of taps on the screen of your device. Where you can see x,y,z having a way better time than you, a lot happier and looking a lot healthier. We all have those down moments, but they don't usually get documented on social media which makes the lives of others appear perfect and unrealistic especially when we are feeling down.

Follow people who make you laugh, accounts that give you hope. Connect with people. Post carefree but not without thought. Remember to live in the moment too and that it's OK and sometimes necessary to take breaks. You won't miss out on anything for taking a small break on social media (it's there for you to see at your own pace, there is no rush), but you can miss out on life by being glued to social media. Social media can be great fun. We just need to realise how and when to use it and use it to our advantage not detriment.

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