Recently Bill Murray said, “Social media is training us to compare our lives instead of appreciating everything we are. No wonder everyone is always depressed.” Bill Murray has a great point! If you’re not careful, social media can have negative effects on your mental health and various relationships. Here’s why below! Plus, I also share a tool to help!
If you’re familiar with my books and inspirational quote posters, then you know I obviously love social media. I am the “host” of a popular Facebook page and Instagram account. But I also can see the dangers of too much social media – and how it can ruin your life – if you’re not careful!
People simply share their curated “life highlights reel.” We don’t get to see the parts of people’s lives which were not instagram-worthy – because they were disappointing or embarrassing or even heartbreaking.
You know that expression, “Me thinks thou doth protest too much?” Well, many times when I look at people who share an extreme amount of hyperbolically positive posts I think to myself, “Me thinks thou doth overshare too much.”
I wonder: Are they are over-sharing because they are trying to prove something to the outside world – because they are missing something in their inner world?
Social media also makes it harder to let go of an ex – because it’s always tempting to check in on their photos – and find out what (or who) they’re busy with. So healing from a break up can take longer than ever!
Lastly, reading a good friend’s social media postings can falsely make us feel like we are catching up with our friend over coffee.
But we must realize: Social media is not a good substitute for socializing!
Unless we take time to meet up with someone face-to-face, we will never know the truth of their less-than-picture-perfect life.
2. We can prioritize quantity over quality relationships
Social media can inspire people to collect as many “friends” and “likes” as possible – thereby prioritizing “quantity” over “quality” relationships.
Over time, this can be very unsatisfying. These social media “likes” will never nourish us in the ways which truly matter.
Plus, we can get addicted to the “immediate gratification high” we receive when our “likes” on a picture are at a “high.” Similarly, we can suffer from withdrawal pains if we don’t receive “likes” in the high dosage we addictively crave.
These days there’s lots of pressure to define the status of our relationship -publicly online – creating unneeded stress on newly forming relationships.
Plus, no matter what relationship stage you’re in, there’s always big pressure to share photos of your good times – plus – compare where you’re at in comparison to other people’s relationships.
It’s important to remember: Most of the happiest moments in a relationship are not ones which can be photographed and posted. They are private moments – simply and intimately enjoying each other’s company.
You ate a delicious salad. You saw a sold out musical. You climbed a steep and photogenic mountain. But if nobody is there to photograph it and share it on instagram – does it even matter that you enjoyed these experiences?
I jest – but it seems these days there’s a lot of pressure to share (or rather over-share!) social media proof that you’re living an awesome life.
This oversharing aspect of social media can wind up ruining the enjoyment of the present moment – because when you grab your phone to post it in social media, you take yourself out of the present moment!
Unfortunately the pressure to broadcast one’s life can ironically stop us from enjoying our life!
So…what’s the solution?
A “break” can be anything from a few hours – to a few days – to far more!
Stepping away from social media can help you to relax and stop feeling lots of societal pressure about where you’re at in your life right now.
It’s also a way to snag yourself extra free time to accomplish what you need to get done – and enjoy more relaxing alone time – doing absolutely nothing.
You can take a “social media break” by leaving your phone at home when you go out. Or you can put your phone on off and in another room. Or you can go on a vacation and choose to not check in social media for the entire trip.
If you do “social media breaks” regularly, you’ll find you become more productive, feel less anxious, enjoy deeper relationships – plus notice more things in your life to be grateful about!
Do you have a friend you love – who you want to cheer up and cheer on?
Give them a gift of my book: Friends Forever Whatever Wherever!
Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.