Have to post that pic? Need to send that tweet? Must Snap the latest for your snap story? Gotta update with a new post? Most of us love social media — and spend a lot of time on it. While social media has advantages to connect in fun ways, it can also have some drawbacks. Think about it. Do you find out about what’s happening in your friends’ lives from updates on your phone or through ACTUALconversations with your friends? Do you hear about what’s going on in the world through personal experiences or seeing it on a screen?  So, what happens when you experience everything second-hand through your phone? Well, not participating in the world in a REAL way and instead, opting for the digital life experience can have negative effects on your mental health.


The University of Michigan recently studied how Facebook affects college-age adults. The researchers found that there is a direct relationship between how much the students used Facebook and their overall happiness. The more the participants used Facebook, either for scanning or posting, the less happy they felt and the less satisfied they were with their lives. As John Jonides, a University of Michigan cognitive neuroscientist and co-author of the study told NPR, “When you’re on a site like Facebook, you get lots of posts about what people are doing. That sets up social comparison — you maybe feel your life is not as full and rich as those people you see on Facebook.”


So what should we do? Do we stop using social media? Honestly, that’s probably not going to happen, at least anytime soon. Instead, try these 4 tips:

1. Cut back the use of social media to 3 posts a week for 1 month. That’s it…just 3 posts, one week at a time. You can do it! It will make you happier!

2. If you are feeling down, stop posting and start calling. Have a conversation with someone who you trust and like talking to. Don’t post about your sadness. Find a real, live person who can pick you up.

3. Remind yourself that social media is not reality. Social media is most often the highlight reel of a person’s life, not the reality. Don’t compare your “backstage”, messy, chaotic moments to others’ on-stage, glamorous moments. We’re all living this thing called “life” together — and sometimes it’s not pretty.

4. Spread the love online. We get it, it’s super tempting to respond snarkily to people sometimes. But honestly, that’s too easy. Try to be nice online. Support people who seem down and don’t add to the negativity that is all too easy to find online.

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