I have spoken about social media or Facebook depression in the past. In a nutshell, social media depression is when someone is feeling worthless or hopeless by following connections who appear to have a better life. That person makes the comparison between his or her life and their’s and that has a negative affect on his or her emotions. The keyword here is that they appear to have a better life.
The reality is that everyone has challenges to deal with, even those connections who make it appear that their lives are so perfect. It is human nature to have a need to share something wonderful or exciting, and that is all they are doing. I can guarantee that everyone has done it as well in the past- regardless of what challenges they may be facing in life. I can understand how this can have a profound affect on people’s lives, however there are steps that can be taken to minimize social media depression.
Now let’s talk about you, how does this affect you? Let’s talk about the 5 ways to combat social media depression which has been helpful to me.
1. Be Realistic About the Fact that No one has a Perfect Life. If you see someone celebrating something that you want so badly and that is out of your reach- it is natural to feel envious. Those negative feelings can lead to depression if it gets out of hand. If someone has a need to brag often on social media about only wonderful things happening, then you need to realize that his or her life is far from perfect. In fact, he or she has something to hide and that is why there is that need to brag. Truly happy people will not brag and will be genuine about their own struggles in life.
2. Unfollow. If you unfollow someone on Instagram or Twitter, he or she will know and that is a risk you take. However, if most of the bragging is done on Facebook and you are finding that individual’s posts negatively affecting you- you can remain friends and you can unfollow without the person knowing.
3. Evaluate what you Want in Life. You have to accept there are some things in life that are simply not in the cards for you. If you have connections that are constantly talking about the very thing you are denied in life- again unfollow. However, if these connections achieved something that is in your reach and you can achieve, let that be a motivator. For instance, if you have been struggling to lose weight and one of your connections announced that he or she lost 30 lbs- instead of being envious, send a message and be open about your struggles about weight loss. Find out how he or she was successful. Maybe that individual can be supportive.
4. Connect with Others who Share the Same Struggles. If you have connections on your list that know nothing of your struggles, pay less attention to them and talk more with those who are dealing with a similar hand in life you were given. There are also many Facebook groups and communities that are supportive. Focus on those instead of your connections that seem to be having it better than you.
5. Focus on the Good in your Life. Coming from someone who has depression, I can tell you that this is incredibly important. I understand how easy it is to think you are given the short end in every aspect of your life. If you truly evaluate your life, you will see this isn’t the case in all areas. Maybe in some areas you were shafted. However, there are other areas where you were given gifts. Gifts that those who are constantly sharing their own celebratory posts were never given.
Social media depression is very real. It is easier said than done to simply not compare your life to someone else’s. However, making life comparisons is human nature and these steps can help you steer away from doing that. Focus on how you can benefit from social media instead of letting it create negativity within your life.