Health & Fitness

How to Use Social Networks Without Harming Your Health: Top 6 Hacks

You can endlessly argue that social networks are evil and harmful, but usually it doesn’t go beyond the arguments. Messengers and social networks have become part of our lives, many of us have to deal with them in the performance of professional duties. That is why calls to delete your accounts and never return to social networks are no longer relevant. But the skills to use social media or entertainment sites like wisely and without damaging our health, primarily our mental health, are relevant.

The American Psychiatric Association conducted a survey on this topic. Over a third of the respondents believe that social media has a negative impact on their health and psyche. There were those who noted a positive impact, but they were few – only 5%. The majority of respondents see both positive and negative aspects of social networks. Regardless of which category you belong to, you should take heed of these recommendations.

Why does social media hit mental health in the first place? Because they increase feelings of loneliness, which has become one of the most pressing problems in the last two years. There is scientific evidence that the abuse of social networks leads to depression, as well as increased anxiety and low self-esteem based on trivial jealousy.

The following recommendations will be especially useful for those who are already experiencing a negative impact. But it’s worth studying them for everyone, for others they will be the rules of digital hygiene and prevention of the above problems. These tips will help use the benefits of the Internet without harm to their own psyche.

Reasonable Restrictions

Forcing yourself to completely abandon social networks – it’s like going on a strict diet. There will be no benefit, because strict limitations lead to breakdowns and great disappointment in yourself. Restrictions must be reasonable, in this case you need to make sure that hanging out on the Internet doesn’t distract from the business and doesn’t interfere with the live communication. Psychologists say that ties between relatives and friends become stronger if you turn off notifications on your smartphone during communication.

It’s worth allocating a certain amount of time to communicate with loved ones, and during these hours don’t update the social networking feeds, it’s better not to enter them at all. If you communicate with friends, play with children or pets, then let this activity absorb you completely. The same goes for work, you’ll be much more productive if you limit your use of social media during work hours. And one more important rule: keep the phone away from the bed, so you will keep your sleep strong and qualitative.

Attention to Well-being

Sometimes it’s enough to pay attention to how you feel. Use your favorite social networks at different times of the day and analyze how you feel afterwards, also pay attention to how your condition is affected by the time you spend online. More often than not, people notice that short visits increase their mood and cheerfulness, while hours of scrolling through the feed make them irritable and tired. From this you should draw conclusions and adjust your activity on the networks, based on how you feel.

There are other patterns as well. For example, the difference between active and passive use. People who consume content and do not post anything themselves usually feel worse than those who constantly share something with their subscribers. The conclusion is simple: if you don’t want to post anything, maybe you shouldn’t get too caught up in consuming moments from other people’s lives.

Also you should know that most people get positive emotions by communicating in social networks with close people, or not so close, but those whom you sincerely sympathize with.

Clear Goals for Use

Let’s say you’re used to logging into Instagram every morning. It’s already become a ritual, but how important is it on the practical side? If you go in to get the latest news in a convenient format, then the habit is useful. But if you are thus escaping from reality, which you find boring, then the habit isn’t useful, it’s destructive. Especially those who observe the following should be wary: when you have a difficult task at work or in other areas of life, you immediately go to social networks and start aimlessly scrolling through the feed. In fact, this behavior has a purpose, and it is precisely an escape from reality.

You can figure this out on your own, but you have to be honest with yourself. Every time you check social media, ask why you’re doing it. And if you don’t find a clear purpose, then you are trapped and something needs to be done about it.

Controlling the Number of Subscriptions

It’s likely that a lot of time has passed since you registered your profile. And with time, the number of subscriptions grew. You’ve got online friends, a lot of channels from which you get news and ideas. Undoubtedly, some of them are still interesting for you, but at least half of them are probably just cluttering up your feed. Some sources are simply not relevant anymore, some were not relevant at all, subscribing to them was an impulsive decision. Particular attention should be paid to those profiles and publishers that are annoying.

It’s worth unsubscribing from unnecessary pages and even removing from your friends people with whom you no longer communicate and do not plan to communicate. Don’t worry about offending anyone. After the list is sorted out, your feed will be much nicer and you’ll feel a real sense of ease.

One study showed that people who read a lot of other people’s posts experience a lot of negative emotions. Voluntarily or involuntarily, they compare their life to someone else’s and often not in their favor. Positive emotions come to those who spend time reading interesting facts, fascinating stories, and watching funny pictures. Hence the conclusion: it’s better to look at cute cats than to compare your life with someone else’s.

Real Communication Is a Priority

Using social media to keep up with how your distant relatives or old buddies are doing is a good thing. It’s how people keep in touch with each other. But only until virtual communication completely replaces real communication. Correspondence alone isn’t enough, so try to see your cousin’s family at least once every few months and don’t unnecessarily replace face-to-face communication with co-workers with correspondence.

By following these tips, you’ll begin to spend time on social media in a beneficial way. They will become a pleasant and rational addition without overshadowing live communication. You will not lose precious minutes of personal communication with the person, staring at the smartphone screen, and there will be much less negative emotions.

Digital Detox

This is what they call a break from using social media. Such a detox will be especially useful for those people who have work responsibilities associated with social networks. You can detoxify on weekends or on vacation, but you need to limit the time you spend hanging out in the networks to a minimum. If it’s impossible to completely abandon social networks for a few days, then reduce the time spent on them to 10-15 minutes a day.

Just three days of this cleanse, and the results will be noticeable: an increase in life satisfaction and a decrease in stress levels.

If you struggle with the urge to refresh your feed, just delete the apps that make you so addicted. You’ll be able to put them back when the digital detox is over.

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