Have you ever forgotten your cell phone at home? Was it challenging to make it through the day without checking your social media accounts to keep up with friends, relatives and celebrities? Although social media appears to be the ideal way to stay connected with people in today’s busy world, there can be adverse effects. Researchers from the University of Missouri conducted a study in 2015 that found that regular Facebook use can impact mental health and lead to depression if the site triggers envy in the user. (Psychology Today, 2017). If you are already experiencing a low mood, it can be important to be aware of the media you are consuming which can add layers of intensity to the emotions you are already feeling.
One way to determine if social media is impacting your mood is by reducing the amount of time you spend daily engaging in the sites or idling scrolling through your news feed. Below are helpful tips to limit your social media use:
Ways to Begin a Social Media Detox
- Reduce the amount of time you spend on social media. It might be challenging to stop using social media all together. What are we supposed to do while waiting in line? Try to increase mindfulness and be more present on what is occurring around you. You might be surprised what you’re missing out on instead of looking at your phone. If you are spending an hour on social media throughout the day, try to reduce it to 30 minutes.
- Turn off notifications. Only keep on notifications in which a person is directly contacting you, like a phone call or text message. Turn off all other notifications from social media applications.
- Utilize the do not disturb setting on your phone when sleeping so your alarm will function properly but any other calls, text message or notifications will not go off so you can catch more Z’s.
- Add in other hobbies you have been putting aside such as reading, cooking or working out that can be healthier replacements to social media use.
It can be challenging to incorporate these new behaviors into your life. However, if you can commit to adding in these behaviors for 30 days to create stable change it can have a positive impact on your mood. One way to check-in with yourself is create a daily mood diary. You might notice your mood decline when first adding in the alternative behaviors listed above but over time your mood could improve.
Source: Psychology Today. Allison Abrahams, LCSW-R. “Mental Health and the Effects of Social Media.” 2017.
Stephanie Cerula, LPCC