Social Media And Mental Health

1 (3).pngAs a very introverted, anti-social woman, I have no problem admitting that I don’t enjoy social media. My reasoning is what you’d expect from someone like me. I am easily exhausted by human interaction, anxious, and sometimes prone to irritation. Social media can be a great tool for connecting or re-connecting with people, building a business, and even befriending new people with similar interests. However, social media can also be a war zone. People spew hate-speech, publicly (virtually) crucify people for their mistakes, and cyber-bully the innocent. Today, it is my personal preference to use social media as little as possible, with the exception of my Japanese account because it almost always motivates me. All of my personal social media accounts are private and I hardly ever even post anything. I use social media to check on friends/family and to communicate with them and that’s it.

I didn’t always limit my social media use. So I know from experience that social media can become a catalyst for trouble when you’re trying to manage a mental illness. It’s not much different from the real world. You’ve got to be careful about the things you say or do when you’re during your highs and lows. Unfortunately, what you say online can stick longer and cause a lot more damage than it would in the real world. So, between my own poor decisions and those that I’ve witnessed from others, I composed a list of social media tips for individuals dealing with any sort of mental illness.

Stay Offline During Late Night and Early Morning Hours

The early morning hours and late hours of the night are when you’re sleepy, whether you feel sleepy or not. You’re not in your right mind and you’re more likely to do things that you wouldn’t if you were fully alert. They’re also the perfect hours to dwell on the things that trigger you and (regrettably) post your thoughts/reaction online. Also, the early morning and late night hours should be reserved for winding down, resting, or meditating/exercise.

Avoid Ranting

Frustration is a completely normal emotion and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to express how you feel. If you’re upset, consider writing your feelings in a journal, meditation, or expressing yourself through some form of art. Social media provides everyone with a soapbox, making it into the perfect place to express raw emotions before taken the time to think it through. It’s easy to take that frustration overboard and say things you don’t mean. It can even cost you relationships and even your job/career.

Unfollow or Mute Accounts That Trigger You

It’s one thing to follow a man or woman who has the fit body that you aspire to someday achieve. It’s another, much more serious thing to follow someone with a fit body that you constantly compare yourself to. It’s also not a good idea to follow depression/anxiety accounts that post sad or grim things. If you don’t feel comfortable unfriending or unfollowing an account, consider “muting” them instead. You have to be protective over your peace and mental stability.

Think Before You Post

Is what you’re about to post helpful to you? Is it helpful to someone else? Are there reasons you could regret posting it later? If you often end up regretting and deleting things you post in a moment of anxiety, depression, or mania, then give the things you post a little more thought from now on.

Surround Yourself With Inspiration

Social media isn’t all bad. Seeking out the people and things that inspire you and make you feel joy is a great way to make the most out of it. Personally, I enjoy studying, organization, planning, and cats. So, I try to follow only those kinds of accounts and I have a study account of my own.

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My advice isn’t that you become a hermit like me. I should probably use social media more often, actually. But if using social media is hard for you, I hope at least one of my tips help.

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