If you are living and breathing in the 21st century, then you’re also probably on social media. Kudos to those of you who have avoided the trends, posts, and likes, but most people are engaging with social media in one way or another. The recent Netflix documentary Social Dilemma highlighted some of the harmful effects of social media on mental health. In particular, there is a growing awareness of social media addiction.
Social Media Addiction
Giving how the algorithm of many of these applications bombards us with advertisements and content carefully curated to our designated interests, it is no wonder so many of us seem to be addicted. Some signs of addiction include:
- You can’t seem to put your phone down.
- You find yourself living for the likes and shares.
- You start feeling down and have a “fear of missing out” (or “FOMO”) when you see the pictures of others enjoying seemingly perfect lives on social media.
- You sometimes experience phantom phone syndrome where you go to grab your phone because you think it’s vibrating when it is not.
- You’re spending a significant number of hours on social media applications every day.
If you are addicted to social media, as so many are discovering, you should try to put your phone down and away from yourself. However, equally important is making sure that the content you are consuming fits your personality and matches your sensibility. If you feel like your life is more than a sports car obsession and frenzied reporting on political turmoil, then you may need to change your feed. Here are some social media site-specific tips for consuming more of what you’re made of and less of what drives you mad.
- If someone is posting content that concerns you, you can report it. If this is a pattern and it keeps coming up, you can take a break, unfriend, or unfollow. If you unfollow, you will not see their content show up in your feed. You can also do this with the specifics under the “take a break” option.
- Manage the groups you have joined as a member. Exit groups that are no longer serving you.
- Pay attention to who’s on your favorites list. These creators will show up more in your feed.
- Pay attention to your options. If someone is posting content that doesn’t resonate with you, you can mute, restrict, and unfollow.
- Curate your “discover” page. Follow accounts in an area of your life that you would like to grow.
- Pay attention to who’s on your close friend’s list.
- Recognize that this application will deliver more news-related information. Avoid use if you’re trying to avoid the news.
- Unfollow accounts that are no longer serving you.
- Follow accounts in an area of interest and see how your recommended contacts change.
If you’re spending a lot of time on social media, at least make sure it’s with content that makes you feel marginally happier. If not, you are exacerbating pre-existing depression and anxiety. Make sure to balance the time you spend on social media with real-life activities so you don’t become too isolated. At Valiant Living, we want to help you overcome addiction in any form and its depressive side effects. We are a men’s only mental health facility in Denver, Colorado, that treats addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses. To learn more about our services, you can reach us at (303) 952-5035.