How to free yourself from social media pressures
if the nonstop barrage of do-it-for-the-gram selfies, feuds and internet trolls is getting in the way of your life, then it might be time for a social media cleanse. psychologist tanya van de water weighs in on the effects of social media pressure.
1 UNDERSTAND THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Speaking about mental health on public platforms can help increase awareness and help you make a connection. These are positive, but social media can also have a detrimental effect. Not all the information provided is factually true, which can be potentially harmful.
2 SHARING IS SELECTIVE
There is a growing desire from society for authenticity. However, public disclosures on social media can offer a false sense of authenticity because they are still selectively shared.
3 BEWARE OF MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES
While motivational quotes can provide a quick pick-me-up, they can also add an additional sense of burden if you feel like you’re unable to live up to it.
4 DON’T ONLY RELY ON PUBLIC COMMUNITIES
Social media may give you a type of group or community, but it doesn’t fulfil the other criteria required for group therapy. Some of the differences:
• Group therapy is evidence based (scientifically researched for its benefits to the participants), while there is insufficient research about the efficacy of social media as an intervention.
• Group members are protected by rules or boundaries, such as confidentiality and respect, whereas social media provides opportunity to ridicule and bully.
• The facilitator is trained to identify and address inaccurate information, while the info available on social media is uncensored and likely inaccurate.
5 SHARING MAY BE EASIER, BUT NOT BETTER
Sharing online is a meaningful opportunity to admit that you have a problem and need help. Still, this isn’t enough to treat mental health. Research shows that it’s easier to share things with close friends or with a stranger that you may never meet again in the future. Similarly, you can do the same on social media through direct messaging or on your feed to your followers. These public confessions don’t commit you to engage in ongoing relationships. So it may be easier to share your struggle online, but it’s not a better substitute for professional help.
6 YOU CAN’T TAKE IT BACK
The problem with social media is that everything you share is permanently recorded in the online domain. Make sure that what you’re putting out won’t give you stress or anxiety if it were to come back at you in the future.
7 DO A DIGITAL DETOX
Make yourself temporarily unavailable, and maximise the opportunity to be mindfully present. A detox will provide you with a moment to reflect on the frequency you use social media. How to know if you’re a pathological internet user: Do you stay on the internet longer than you were planning? Do you catch yourself thinking about when you can go online again? Are you struggling to cut down on the amount of time you spend online? Are your other responsibilities at home or work suffering because of the time you spend online? If you answered yes to all these questions, then we suggest you contact a mental health professional.