Social Media & Mental Health: Safeguarding Your Virtual Space
“Just another minute…” is what you’ll probably be saying to yourself when you’re scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok (by golly, do we spend lots of time on that thing!) and the rest of them. But there’s that voice at the back of our minds asking ourselves: ‘is this healthy?’.
What we don’t quite know when we’re scrolling through social media after work, on our valuable breaks, walking down the street or just simply killing time, is that our brains are being constantly stimulated which means chemicals are being released in our brains (good, bad, happy, sad, shocked etc) that make us in a nutshell, mentally stimulated and ultimately, exhausted.
I’m not going to list the medical factors or list medical facts because I don’t know them (yet) instead I’m going to talk about how to monitor your social media browsing and scroll through your feeds with a purpose for productivity to give your mind a bit of a social rest.
Scrolling With A Purpose
Let’s start with this: ask yourselves what are you going on social media for? Are you there to learn something or be inspired? Are you looking for a job or career tips? Asking yourself a basic question like this can help you be more productive on social media and use it to your advantage.
I often hear people are intimidated by what they see or feel insecure by the things their friends or competitors online which can ultimately affect their own personal or professional development. We don’t want that and nor do the makers of these platforms. They want you to use the app in the best way possible so that you use it for life, but more importantly make sure you use it with a purpose not aimless browsing.
Setting a Timer
Now that you are scrolling down with a purpose, the next thing you need to do is to restrict your time so you don’t waste human hours looking at what’s going on in the virtual world. Set a timer on your phone for maybe ten minutes let’s say to being with each time you fancy going on social media. Ten minutes represents a decent break away from the desk every hour or so, so why not reverse this and try the same amount of time on a social media break instead of hours at the end of your valuable day…. basically, learn to put it the down!
What we may not know, is that aimless scrolling or browsing can impact your mental health subconsciously (now that is a fact) and perhaps why we are becoming more anxious for no ‘apparent’ reason; because we are stimulated on a minute by minute basis offline through ads, marketing, flyers on the street, sales signs, appealing visuals etc of which we see ten times this in just 2 minutes of being on social media.
So try choosing a purpose before you go onto social media so you scroll with a purpose in mind and remember to set regular timers whenever you fancy a social media binge. See if these make a difference to your mental health and be sure to report back. And more importantly, safeguard your virtual space!
Your Pre-Scrolling Checklist:
Step 1: Ask yourself, 'what am I going to go on my feed for?' For example: researching, catching up on comments or messages, looking for inspiration, funny videos...
Step 2: Set the timer
Step 3: Write down any inspirations, findings or diarise your feeling after using social media
Yasmin @ Aloha
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