By: Allison Embree
It’s no surprise that in 2019, 77% percent of Americans have reported having a social media page. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, and LinkedIn, are all providing us ways to stay more connected than ever before. We know what our first crush from 3rd grade is eating, who he is married to, where he works, and what type of dog he owns, all thanks to them voluntarily posting updates. However, all this light stalking isn’t as harmless as we once thought. People who scroll Facebook, Instagram, and Snap Chat excessively are reporting higher rates of depression and other mental health issues, in new studies. Psychologist suspect it’s because our carefully created online images of our lives cause people to naturally compare, judge, and then feel they are not living as well. So how do we translate all of the information we consume in a way that brings growth, balance, and reflection in our daily lives?
1) Be mindful of your time
In the same study that found a link between depression and social media, they compared 143 students at the University of Pennsylvania using Facebook, Instagram and Snap Chat. One group could have unlimited time on any of the three platforms, but one group was limited to 10 minutes on each for a total of 30 minutes a day. The group with limited time reported having less symptoms of depression and anxiety than the other group. So being mindful of your time on social media is definitely the number one way you can help scroll safely.
2) Remember the context
FOMO is a real thing when scrolling your social media feed. Fear of missing out on that latest trend, on being on that cruise, on having that job, on having those perfect kids that look like J Crew models, is a real threat to your mental health. It’s important to remember that your life can look that good for one picture too. Count your own blessings when you find yourself comparing with others. Remember mindfulness is realizing you have everything you need, if you have a pillow to sleep on, food to eat, and water to drink. Instead of comparing, congratulate your friend on their accomplishment and share their joy, don’t discount your own.
3) Take a breath
Paramount to mindfulness is being aware of your breathing. So it’s not FOMO that has you upset, but it’s political, or emotional upset that has you wanting to go full “2007 Brittany with an umbrella” on this Facebook post right now. Take a deep breath and walk away. It’s not going to help anyone to get into a fight on social media. Remember, no one in the history of the internet has ever said “oh, you’re right, I was wrong”. What you are risking is being in a bad mood with people who are around you in real life. Breath and center yourself, and move on with your day.
So remember, next time that mom from next door posts picture perfect cupcakes she made by scratch after working all day, that she probably also has a sink full of dishes that aren’t posted, and a messy living room she’s avoiding. Or she really is perfect, and good for her! You are also worthy. And if you’ve been on social media long enough that you’re 9 months back into old posts by that cute guy at work, you should probably log off. Mindful scrolling everyone, take care of yourselves!