Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Social Media Depression - 5 Reasons Why "Too Much" Can Bring You Down
A few weeks ago, I was feeling really down. Nothing awful was going on in my life, but I felt REALLY yucky and depressed. As I mindlessly flicked through the social media apps on my phone - Instagram, Facebook, back to Instagram - I asked myself, "What am I looking for anyway?!" As I thought about it, I realized that I was trying to feel better - I was looking for something that would pull me out of my "mood"... and I was lonely! I was interacting with about 600 "friends", but I was truly lonely at the moment.
As I gave it some thought, I realized that it was precisely this behavior that was causing my mood. I started paying closer attention to my social media use, and realized that there was definitely a correlation between my "down days" and the amount of time I was spending on my phone. Anyone else experienced this? Keeping up with friends is great, and I'm not giving up social media completely, but here are few reasons why too much of a good thing can bring us down:
1.) Looking for Approval - So often, I have posted something, and then spent a good chunk of my time afterward, checking to see how "liked" it has been and what others had to say about it. And it wasn't just the number of "likes" that mattered, but who the "likes" were from. Do the people I think highly of return the sentiment? I realized that by doing this, I was basing my worth on external measures. Instead of looking inward and to God for approval, I had placed that measuring stick out in my social network. For me, that's not a good thing, and it wasn't making me happy.
2.) Comparisons - I think this one is self-explanatory. It helps me to remember that people usually post their "highlights", so to speak, which is fine. We just need to remember that on those days when we don't get a shower, we don't get enough done, and our kids are crabby and complaining about dinner. Everyone else has those days, too.
3.) "Fake Fun" - For years, I have talked to my kids about fake fun. Real fun is going out and doing stuff. Fake fun is watching a character on a movie or video game go out and do stuff. However, sometimes when we get too involved with social media, we are guilty of fake fun. We're living through others, and not engaging in our own lives and with the people around us.
4.) Taking the place of Edifying Activity - What is important to you? Do you like to read? Study the scriptures? Talk with your spouse or kids? Exercise? I had complained about not "having time" to read anymore. However, when I took an honest look at the time I was spending on my phone, I realized that I did have the time, I just wasn't using it properly. On a related note, losing huge chunks of time can kill our productivity and make us feel bad about ourselves and the progress we are making in the areas of life that really matter to us.
5.) Never Being Still - We all need time to think, to recharge, to appreciate the joys, and recognize what we need to do better. For me, it was becoming far too easy to fill in all of my time gaps by mindlessly scrolling through the apps on my phone. Whenever I was waiting somewhere, it was becoming a habit to check my social media. I was losing precious opportunities to refill my tanks and receive inspiration.
Coming up in future posts, we'll talk about how to take control, as well as how electronic device use can effect our families. Links will be included here as content is posted.