Social media offers a lot of useful tools. It is a great way to stay in touch with friends, keep up with other people’s lives, and discover new and amazing cat videos. However, social media can also become a drain on our mental health and well-being, because it can also be a source of constant negativity. Bad news and negative outlooks, complaints and more are part of the content we consume.
So, how can we protect ourselves against the negative effects of this toxic aspect of social media?
Block, ban, mute, unfollow, and unfriend
You do not have to stay subscribed to everything and everyone. Even if you want to stay friends or mutual followers, you can still mute their publications or cut down on the content you see from them. All types of social media give you tools to moderate and modify what you see and what you don’t, and you should use them. If you find yourself feeling angry or upset about certain posts or ways of expressing things, you can always avoid them.
Sometimes, the negativity comes from the ways in which we react to our friends’ posts. It can come from the competitiveness and our feeling that we can’t compare. It’s fine to also limit your interactions with your friends’ posts if they are upsetting you. Focus on your well-being while on social media.
Remember that there are different ways to stay informed
You might need to know the news that might be negative, but you can choose the source. Find a reliable one that does not dwell too much on the negative and does not savor all the morbid details. There are plenty of sources that provides small news section can be a good option. Watch out for publications that use and abuse words with a heavy emotional charge, such as lied, murder, scandal, and others, which can maximize your experience.
Infuse some positivity into your life
We tend to find negative things all around us. They are in the news and everywhere. Sometimes, we have to try a little harder to find positive news, events, and situations in our lives.
Positive psychology suggests exercises like a gratitude journal that allows you to focus on the good things in your life. You can apply a similar approach to social media and discover ideas that make you feel good and make a conscious effort to seek them out.
Make sure to look for positivity from social media as well. You are certain to find many opportunities to feel like you are contributing positively to the world or having experiences that are enjoyable.
Check your sources
A lot of negativity we are exposed to every day is less real than it might seem. Often, news are exaggerated or even outright fake. It’s no use getting upset over things that are not true. Look out for an exaggerated vocabulary or exaggerated claims and check the information in other sources.
Remember that something meant to spark outrage and anger is likely to be exaggerated, so if you find yourself slipping into these negative emotions, check to see if the information is accurate or if it is being misrepresented to get a specific reaction. If you find a publication or source often misinterprets things, it’s best to steer clear of it in favor of more accurate sources.
Some bloggers and authors will try to make their audiences care more by exaggerating things that are happening, and this can make you feel upset and also manipulated. Focus your energy on real problems.
Often, no matter if we try to shield ourselves from negativity, it will shine through. Social media often has a bias towards the negative because this generates more clicks or might feel more important for the people we follow to share. So it’s important to unplug from time to time.
Schedule time without social media and maybe even without your phone. Go out to natural green spaces or do things that make you feel good. Limit your time on social media and have at least several spaces per week to be free of it completely. You might find that your mental health welcomes these breaks.