Anyone with a social media account understands the feeling of scrolling mindlessly online, losing time you’ll never get back, as it disappears into a black hole. You look up and notice you’ve been online for an hour. You feel drained and maybe a little depressed, but after a brief break, you go back to see the latest post on your feed. And the cycle continues…feeding the social media stress.
Even though you may think going online will make you happy, the truth is, it won’t. Happiness declines with social media interaction. It’s counterintuitive since connection increases happiness. Confusing, right? It is but doesn’t have to be. The answer is simple.
Being socially connected DOES increase happiness, but more so when it’s in person or in a one-on-one connection. When you’re online, chances are, you’re not truly connecting on a deep and personal, human level. Even if you have some positive interactions, most media you’re likely consuming is negative, which can lead you to feel bad.
I’m online as much as the next person. As a writer, building connections online is essential. Not only am I sharing my author-adventures with my readers, but I’m connecting on a human level, and that’s really important to me. But knowing it WILL NOT make me feel happy, I am mindful of my emotions and adjust my usage accordingly.
The key to protecting my happiness online lies in my self-awareness. And yours, too.
Unconsciously sacrificing your time, mental health, relationships, and real-life experiences for a short-lived social high, time and time again, is a red flag. When we aren’t paying attention, we can allow the negativity to embody who we are. We start showing up in life, emulating who we don’t want to be without even realizing it.
It’s essential to know how social media makes you FEEL and make choices based on those feelings. If you genuinely feel good while scrolling, liking, and commenting, keep going! Alternatively, when you find your mood changing, take notice. All emotions are valuable indicators of what’s important to us. Feeling sad or angry isn’t bad. It tells us what we want or don’t want, who we want to be or not be in life. Simply being aware and consciously choosing whether we engage or disengage will foster feelings of empowerment and happiness.
For more on social media and happiness, see “How you use social media affects your sense of happiness” by Chrissy Sexton.
If you ever feel social media stress, like I often do, take a step back. Be aware of your feelings and choose to take any action that benefits YOU. Take care of yourself. You’ll feel happier, and those around you will reap the benefits of your happy energy. Social media will still be there, ready for the happier version of YOU!
You can do this! I’m here for you!