“x ways social media negatively affects your life” and similar headlines are everywhere – but I’d like to counter with saying that it’s not that simple.
Social media is not good or bad in itself – it’s how we use it that determines what it does for our life. If we take the time to break the habits of how we use social media poorly, and instead use it as a tool or resource, it can be very beneficial.
Here are benefits that I’ve seen from engaging with social media:
Social media can motivate you to change default patterns
Humans are habitual beings, and we often keep doing things the way we have always done them – unless something big happens that makes us question and redefine what we do. But you don’t have to wait for something life-changing to happen to change your life – following inspiring accounts may motivate you to make small daily adjustments that bring about really big results in your life long-term.
Social media can help you see things in a new way
When you follow people who motivate you, whether it’s with their words or simply by how they live their lives, you might come across multiple ways of thinking about or resolving problems that you are facing in your life.
Social media allows you to share stories
There was a time when only the few could get their stories in front of an audience – and that often meant in a large format like a book or movie even. Through social media, you can share little snippets that slowly build up your legacy, and you can reach people all across the globe who might be entertained, touched, or helped by what you have to say.
Social media can help you feel not so alone
When we’re in the thick of either the everyday little things or big life changes, it often helps to not feel like we’re the only one going through that experience. Whether you share your own stories and get feedback from others, or read stories by others who have similar experiences to you, it can help you feel not so alone.
Social media can keep you connected to loved ones
That good old reason why you joined social media in the first place! Let’s get back to the roots of social media, and start commenting and connecting at a deeper level with those we love. Try this; instead of commenting “beautiful photo” or sticking a single emoji on there, why not spend some time writing a few thoughtful sentences of what their photo and caption awoke in you? Maybe a memory you have with this person?
When to let go and move on
In some instances it doesn’t make sense to follow someone anymore;
- If someone’s account consistently makes you feel bad about yourself or your life
- If reading their posts brings you down
- If you end up making impulse decisions that don’t help you in the long run, triggered by something someone has posted
Social media is not what is negatively affecting you – it’s your use of it.
You have a responsibility to take care of yourself and how you feel throughout your day – and you have the power to choose inspiring over upsetting, uplifting over unsettling, intentional over unplanned.