I’ve been spending a lot of extra time on social media now that I’m staying inside all day. Some days I love it, but most of the time it leaves me feeling quite depressed. This is especially so with everything going on in the world. Are you feeling the same?
Well, I decided I’ve had enough of the negativity. I would just delete all of my social media accounts, but I can’t bring myself to do it. There are friends and family that I do want to stay informed about. So instead, I want to research ways to cope with/lessen the gloom that might accompany social media usage. Let’s figure this out together!
The Science Behind it All
The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine did a study back in 2016 and learned that the more time young adults spent on social media, the more likely they were to be depressed. BYU-Idaho also found that social media causes feelings of loneliness and trouble sleeping.
But, why? Some say it could be that lonely, depressed people are turning to social media as a way to find entertainment or distraction. While this might be true in some cases, I really believe social media itself can be destructive.
When using social media, we are comparing ourselves to others. We could be overstimulating our brains or using it to waste time. The positions our necks/heads are in could be causing aches and pains. Many of us are missing out on face-to-face interactions because we are too busy looking at our phones.
All of these things can contribute to depression. I definitely feel that knowing these things gives us a better idea of what we can do to start feeling more uplifted after our time on social media. For starters, I’m going to work on my posture!
What the World Says
Psychology Today published a great article with 4 ways to detox after encountering some negative social media. First, they recommended 15 minutes of meditation or relaxation to clear your mind. I think this sounds like fun!
Next, the article said to filter your social media and tailor it more to your needs. I just recently figured out how to mute and unfollow people on Facebook or Instagram. You’re not unfriending them, you’re just telling the app not to show their posts on your feed. It’s a great way to be able to keep in touch without seeing any toxic things they might post regularly.
This goes right along with the third idea they gave which was to clear out negative energy. Honestly, don’t be afraid to unfriend or unfollow certain people. If they are bringing negative energy into your life, you don’t need them. For example, I deleted Snapchat because I wasn’t getting any positive vibes from it in my life. What can you delete?
Lastly, the article suggested staying away from social media at the beginning and end of the day. Start your day by doing something energizing or productive instead of drowning in social media. Make sure to end your day by either meditating or reading. Scriptures would be a much better way to start and end your day instead of your smartphone!
I found another article by RTE that had some good ideas to help deal with the pessimism that comes with the internet sometimes. One thing they mentioned was to set limits. I like the idea of setting a timer for your social media use. There are many apps that can help you track this stuff!
I also think it could be beneficial to like and follow some positive pages. Make sure that your feed occasionally shows you clips from a conference talk or an uplifting quote. When I’m on my phone and feeling stressed, I like to go on Pinterest and look at pictures of flowers. It always makes me feel better!
What Our Leaders Say
Luckily, the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have shed some light on this subject as well. This is one of the many blessings of having a living prophet that can lead and guide us in our unique day!
Elder Stevenson said, “The world usually is just not as bright as it appears on social media. Nevertheless, there is much good that has, and will, come through these new communication platforms.”
All of our prophets, apostles, and other general authorities have social media accounts that they use frequently. The Church posts videos and pictures quite often that can bring the Spirit. We know that social media can be used for righteous purposes. We just have to make sure we’re following their examples!
We have substituted texting and tweeting for actually looking someone in the eye and smiling or, even rarer, having a face-to-face conversation. As amazing as modern technology can be for spreading the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and helping us stay connected to family and friends, if we are not vigilant in how we use our personal devices, we too can begin to turn inward and forget that the essence of living the gospel is service.
Sister Oscarson’s words made me realize that I need to use my social platforms for good. I should be connecting with people, asking how I can serve, and spreading the gospel. I hope it brought something to your mind as well.
Missionaries across the world are using social media for these purposes. Why can’t we? Our leaders trust that we can use these tools in positive ways. I am sure that as I take advantage of that, I will begin to feel better about my smartphone usage.
When the Spirit fills our hearts, we will have better protection against the adversary. He is the one making us feel depressed and negative after using social media. Follow the Spirit, and we can never be led astray.
How are you going to change your social media habits to bring others closer to Christ? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! And hey, you could start by sharing this article!