Social Media Creating Anxiety and Stress in Your Life?
Recent research on young adults shows that Facebook use is linked to declining well-being, regardless of their motivation for logging on in the first place. The study by Kross et al. (2013) was conducted over a two-week period, with 82 participants. A direct negative correlation was found between frequently checking Facebook and declining life satisfaction. In other words, the more they checked Facebook, the worse they reported feeling!
Now, think about your own use of social media platforms such Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Do you feel better or worse when you use them? Do some make you feel better whilst others make you feel worse? Do you think they make no difference to your mood or sense of well-being? Is there a difference between how your personal social media accounts affect your mental state compared with your work-related ones? Perhaps you can only answer these questions after mindfully testing this for yourself for a period.
It’s so important that we know how our social media usage affects our well-being...if we plan to keep using it. It seems we can’t get away from it easily because it’s always there, on our laptops and smart phones, and should we forget for a moment that it exists, we are soon reminded by websites we visit, articles we read and text messages from family and friends. All these reminders constantly funnel us towards using social media, the ironically unsociable platform for “connecting” with people!
Do we really socialise with anyone on social media or are we just a cluster of people; some competing with others whilst others sit on the sidelines as spectators, all the while learning things about people that they wished they didn't know?
If social media is making you feel a little anxious, miserable, fatigued or stressed out (and perhaps you didn’t realise this until now), then limit how much time you spend on it.
The Social Media Fast - A Challenge for YOU
- Make it a rule to not use or check any social media whatsoever for seven consecutive days, to see how it impacts your mental state and your life.
- Schedule all work-related social media activity beforehand using something like HootSuite and do not log on to a single one of your social media accounts for those seven full days.
- After your social media seven day fast, write a few paragraphs about how you feel or felt during those seven days. Be sure to include: (a) how it impacted your life in general, (b) how it affected your feeling of overall well-being, (c) how it impacted your relationships, if at all, and (d) how refreshed and energised you feel about the forthcoming days and weeks.
- If you choose to go back to using social media afterwards, as many will, write some more reflective words, this time documenting how using social media for seven days following the social media fast, has impacted your life and sense of well-being. Be sure to at least answer the four questions above, again.
If you think you can’t even do a seven day social media ban, then you need to do it more than anyone. :-)
Feel free to tell me how you all get on! Add your comments below.
Reference: Kross, E., Verduyn, P., Demiralp, E., Park, J., Lee, D. S., Lin, N., Shablack, H., Jonides, J., Ybarra, O. (2013). Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults. PLoS ONE 8 (8): e69841. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069841
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