Khaleej Times - - WELLNESS - — Dr Asad Sadiq is a con­sul­tant psy­chi­a­trist with Light­house Ara­bia, Dubai

The con­cept of “Face­book de­pres­sion” is well-known. Re­peated com­par­isons with the pro­files of peo­ple who al­ways seem to be hav­ing a great time leads to feel­ings of anx­i­ety, jeal­ousy, un­hap­pi­ness, in­se­cu­rity, low self-es­teem and, even­tu­ally, de­pres­sion. Not re­ceiv­ing mes­sages or be­ing men­tioned in posts, can lead to feel­ings of lone­li­ness. So­cial Me­dia, how­ever, is just a tool. On­line sup­port groups for peo­ple with de­pres­sion can re­duce the very iso­la­tion men­tioned above. Hav­ing a sup­port­ive on­line com­mu­nity can re­duce lone­li­ness when you don’t feel like meet­ing peo­ple.

If you find your­self look­ing at your phone ev­ery 30 min­utes or so, try to im­ple­ment so­cial me­dia free times, that is, a 3 hour pe­riod daily. Do this be­fore you go to sleep so that your sleep is not dis­turbed by ru­mi­na­tions — so no so­cial me­dia af­ter 7pm

In­stead of brows­ing Face­book pro­files/ posts, try to find on­line sup­port groups where you can lis­ten to and share your own and other peo­ple’s ex­pe­ri­ences of de­pres­sion.

Con­stantly re­mind your­self that so­cial me­dia is not real life and that com­par­isons are not valid. A com­mon neg­a­tive thought is that “I’m hav­ing a mis­er­able time whereas ev­ery­one else is hav­ing a ball.” That big smile and jump in the air whilst on holiday might be the only time your friend smiled dur­ing the whole week. You only see a staged snap­shot — what the per­son wants you to see. The rest of the week may have been mis­er­able.

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