Everywhere we look, we are bombarded with social media platforms. Our reality has become condensed into 144 characters or less, with an attitude of ‘say it now, apologize later’. We turn on our phones and we’re reminded how perfect everyone’s lives are. We can start to compare the realities we perceive to our own realities. Not only are we becoming more and more isolated, it’s suggested that people who use these social media platforms increase their risk of depression and anxiety more than three times the normal rate. Additional research released by the American Psychiatric Association suggests that spending too much time on social media can lead us to experience many negative mental health outcomes. So what can we do about it? How can we Unplug? How do we deal with depression and false realities?
Back to Basics
While we can agree that social media is a wonderful tool for networking and keeping in touch with far away family and friends, we need to remember that it’s a tool. It’s only a tool. Our smart phones are attached to us just like another extension of our bodies, most days. The pings and dings and push notifications trigger our brains much in the same way that we react to a surprise. It can trigger our fight-or-flight reaction and we become stuck and focus on the disruption. These push notifications become our stimulus. The key to breaking these habits and reactions is to begin recognizing them and then changing them. Try turning off the notifications on your cell phone. Perhaps limit your email response time to certain times of the day. Allow yourself to view your social media pages, but begin to put little boundaries around your usage. Keep in mind that it’s not just adult health at risk with addiction and false realities, adolescent health is also at risk.
Now that we’ve established that there is an increased risk for depression and anxiety when an addiction to social media is present, let’s look at ways to unplug. There are so many ways to bring ourselves away from the false, perceived reality of social media and connect with our actual realities.
Leave your phone at home. Not forever, but for a few hours. If you’re concerned about being stranded during a hike or a walk, turn off the phone and pack it away in a backpack. It’ll be there if you need it. Find a friend and stay connected, in person. Go for walks once or twice a week, or meet for coffee or even schedule a joint trip to the grocery store for supplies. Having someone around can keep you grounded in reality. And of course, it’s never too late to make new friends. Close friendships can have such a powerful and positive impact on your mental and physical health! There’s nothing like a good laugh with a friend to boost the mood and improve your outlook on life.
Don’t be afraid to be alone. Sometimes, we turn to social media to combat our perceived loneliness, but all we are really doing is trying to disguise the fact that we really are lonely. Combat that feeling by savouring your time alone, practice some yoga or spend some time in meditation. Learning to appreciate your own company is paramount in overcoming feelings of loneliness. Not only do these practices improve our physical state, they have a positive effect on stress, anxiety, eating disorders and even addiction to drugs and alcohol. If you are struggling with an addiction to your phone luxury rehab centers are here to help you find a way out. At a luxury rehab people learn how to find inner happiness without relying on drugs, alcohol or technology.
Keep Things In Perspective
There has been quite a bit of research that suggests that it’s not the quantity of time we spend on social media, it’s the quality. Ask yourself, what are you feeding your soul when you’re scrolling through your social media platforms? Are you constantly comparing yourself with what you see? Take care to keep things in perspective and use kindness when talking to yourself. Find things that bring you pure joy and uplift your mood. If you’re noticing that your online view of reality is leaving you feeling unhappy with your own life, take a step back and really look at what you’re seeing online. Is it really real? Are these just projections of the images that others want you to see? Remember that you are good enough just the way you are, right here, right now. You are the one in control of your own feelings and emotions and if you need help because you’ve temporarily lost your footing, reach out for a hand. There are real people who care about you and love you. So go ahead, unplug for a bit and connect face to face with a friend. Trust us, it’s worth it!
About the author:
Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. Learn more at patrickbaileys.com