With all the negative talk around social media and mental health, how about some ways we can actually use social media to our advantage?
I'm Sure You Hear What Everyone Is Talking About With Social Media
"Social media is the leading cause of depression in the upcoming generations."
"Social media is ruining lives."
Well, they aren't really wrong but they aren't necessarily right either. Most people are lying on the two extremes of the spectrum when it comes to social media.
Young people, techies, marketers and many others are arguing about the amazing things it can add to our society in terms of products, businesses and connectivity.
While older generations, many people in the science and neuroscience field and a large percentage of the population are also warning about the severe mental implications that social media is having on our youth, i.e. people like you and me who are using social media on a day to day, heck even an hour to hour basis.
They are explaining how we are spending our days comparing our life with the "highlight reels" of other people's lives and it is ruining not just our productivity but our mindset as well.
And there is not doubt a lot of truth to all of it.
How Social Media Can Ruin Mindsets
These articles really aren't that far off, if at all.
So, let's not be oblivious here.... social media is having drastic impacts on our mental health and mindsets.
Depression rates have increased almost 60% from 2009 to 2017 for kids between ages 12 and 17 and it is no coincidence that this is the years that coincide with the rise of the biggest social media platforms, namely Instagram.
What exactly is social media doing to impact our minds though, especially at such a "young" age when looked at in the greater scope of life?
The core principle of social media is essentially turned from keepoing people updated on what is going on in your life, to "flexing" our lives, trying to show how our life is so much better than everyone else we know, or so we would like to think...
You scroll through your Instagram feed, constantly looking at these nice cars, fancy clothes, beautiful people and amazing places...
Then you start to compare this to your life and feel bad or depressed that you aren't where these people are. Or that you aren't doing as many cool things as they are, when in reality the majority of their days DON'T look like this.
Multiply this by turning to social media multiple times per HOUR, if you are like me at least, and it can really take a toll on your mindset.
Need a real life example of this? For those of you who have a Facebook account, open your feed on there up and you will see many of your older relatives posting on what is going on in their lives. Then open Instagram and see how drastically different these two feeds are.
What else does social media do to our minds? Well, with the rise of advertising and "influencer" culture on social media, people are posting more things that focus on getting clicks and evoking a reaction, rather than just posting what they are doing.
This naturally leads to a ton of negative posts, because what better way to get people to comment than to post stuff that they disagree with. Or post depressing things that we can all relate to, as life is just naturally challenging.
If you scroll through the news and accounts you follow, especially people's "finsta" accounts, you will see constant complaining or negative thoughts.
And all of this is dramtically worrisome, the younger kids start "hoping on" social media at.
But, There Are Also Many Ways It Can Benefit Our Minds
There are two sides to every story.
With all that out of the way, hopefully now I can get what you came here for, not just to find more information on the negatives of social media.
Social media gives us access to people that we previously would not have been able to access. It gives us an inside on what interesting and smart people are doing on a day to day basis and what they are thinking.
The best part?
It is not limited to one industry, you can find accounts and people in any subject that you are interested in and start to see and learn from them on a day to day basis.
Social media is an invaluable learning tool when you really want to take self education into your own hands and get an inside view on your passions.
With all these accounts to follow, not all of them are negative, just like all the negative accounts out there, there are many positive ones as well that can help you craft almost any area of your mindset.
While harder to find, there are many accounts of "successful people," however you may define that, who share their knowledge, mindsets, expertise and so much more on a day to day basis.
Not everyone is out here "flexing" on social media and it is a breath of fresh air when you start to clear your feed.
And this is what we are going to be focusing on...
Step Number 1: Clear The Feed From The Negative
So many people post complaining and negative thoughts, time to unfollow.
Almost like a "refresh" on your Instagram feed, it is time to control what you are seeing on social media as it impacts your mindset much more than you realize.
You don't have to follow all of these accounts that are bringing you down or forcing you to compare your life to other people's lives. It is just easier to follow them becuase once you follow one, you start seeing more posts and stumble across similar "recommended" accounts to follow.
Then, before you know it, your whole feed is filled with these negative posts, or posts forcing you to compare your life to others. This is a cycle that you don't want to be trapped in, trust me I have spent far too much time there.
So, how exactly do you go about "refreshing" your Instagram feed?
Well, you have to first go through all of those following accounts and following hashtags (yes you can do that if you didn't know) and determine what ones are no good for you. Here are a few solid examples:
UNFOLLOW THEM ALL!
Well, at least start with a large majority of them, I kept a few of the travel accounts around (2-4 of them) as I have a real passion for finding new places to explore on my travels.
It has to make sense why you are keeping the accounts that you are. Be accountable and know why you follow the accounts that you do.
Step Number 2: Who To Follow Now?
So, what do you replace these accounts you unfollowed with?
So, now your "following" tab on Instagram is dwindling, who exactly do you replace all of these people you unfollowed with?
Well, there is always the option to not follow anyone and go live in the real world. Let's be realistic though, that likely isn't going to happen, we will still be on Instagram.
So, might as well follow accounts that will offer value to you.
Maybe that's more accounts based around what you are majoring in in college, or accounts based on developing technologies or healthcare systems. Maybe it is just interesting people who can teach us something and whose lives inspire us to be more interesting as they are constantly sharing their journey and knowledge.
Whatever your passions and interests may be, follow more of those accounts. And if you really have no idea who to follow, here are a few positive and interesting people to follow:
Be Interested, Be Interesting
Start following interesting people, learn everyday and grow everyday.
Being more interested in life can take you a long ways, teach you things you never thought you needed to learn and allow you to meet people you never thought possible.
It can bring you endless opportunities and insights on life when you are constantly learning from others online and more importantly in real life.
Always be curious, it leads to a more interesting life.
Nobody should strive to be like everyone else, what fun is that anyways?
Stand out, be different, live curious, live a great story. You will enjoy life a heck of a lot more than you will chasing what everyone else is doing.
Wow, just like that another day on the blog is in the books! Thanks for all the support and if you enjoyed this or learned anything I just ask one thing: bring a friend back tomorrow! Time to make personal development more "normal" because it is at the foundation of every area of our lives. Stop back with a friend tomorrow-- yourmmntm.com/blog
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Turning The Gym Into A Sanctuary Instead of Dreading Going (click here) >>
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