Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat offer users enormous amounts of sensory input that relate to global current events, local news, celebrity gossip and personal relationship drama. Constantly consuming this diet of mental junk food can send your soul into a downward spiral. If you’ve ever felt that your mental health was at risk by indulging in too much social media, don’t ignore that feeling. It may be your mind’s natural defenses taking over to let you know that you need a break from social media. Leading psychotherapists say that social media dependence is real, growing and not going away anytime soon. Organizations such as Talkspace, an online therapy provider , recognize the problem and have put together programs to help people who may be addicted to social media use. Here are several indications that social media use has become a detrimental habit for you, a few self-help ways to free your mind from social media enslavement and some ways that you can get professional help on demand through Talkspace’s online therapy application.
How To Identify That Your Relationship With Social Media Has Soured
As with most addictions, self-awareness is the first step towards healing. You can recognize that you have a problem with social media when the bad news that you view on the social platforms outweigh the good news that you see there. Continuous bombardment of negativity can lead to stress and depression.
Social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn provide easy ways to reconnect with former college buddies and work colleagues. It is great to see how everyone has progressed and to rejoice in the success of others. However, the constant information updates about others’ personal and professional accomplishments can cause even the strongest of individuals to compare their own lives to those successful people. It’s great when those comparisons inspire you to do bigger and better things, but many times they lead to unhealthy sentiments of jealousy and covetousness.
Most of you have seen folks who are so glued to their social media-enabled phones that they can’t hold decent conversations with people who are right there in front of them in real-time. They can’t even mumble some polite small talk to service workers after placing orders because they are so engrossed in the happenings on social media. These people need a social media intervention.
When social media usage impacts safety and productivity, you would be wise to reevaluate your relationship with those social tools. Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is still an issue in modern societies, but driving while distracted by social media feeds is likely eclipsing them as a more widespread problem. Also, anecdotal evidence points out many aspects of social media input as mental clutter. Clutter leads to exhaustion and a lack of creativity. People spend hours a day on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, which can lead to decreases in productivity.
In today’s age of technology, anyone can literally live in a virtual world and have very little face-to-face contact with others. Virtual worlds like Second Life that allow users to get married, have children and start businesses that earn real profits are considered extreme cases. However, users can get so immersed in conventional social media outlets that they too can lose their sense of humanity. When you use social media for all of your activities such as business, education and training, entertainment, news and interacting with friends, you are at risk for developing a social media addiction.
Regaining Your Mental Focus Through Regular Social Media Breaks
Humans are naturally social and are wired for problem solving. This is why many social media addicts decide to take breaks from their digital toys when they realize that lengthy social media use has begun to rob them of their energy and vitality instead of to enhance their lives. Nearly every intervention needs a support group. Getting some of your family and friends to abstain from social media during your break from those communication channels can help to ensure that you remain social and mentally healthy throughout the break.
Taking vacations from social media will help you to identify extra pockets of free time that you can use to relax, recharge and really connect with people. Some therapeutic ways to spend the extra time that will you gain from cutting out social media use include attending Bible studies, gardening and meeting up with friends at your favorite coffee house for poetry slams. Interactive, in-person gaming experiences like the ones at Maze Rooms also promote mental acuity, team work and social interaction.
Limiting the amount of time that you spend on social platforms and when you allow yourself to use those outlets are just some other examples of self-help protocols that you can use to regain control of your life in the age of social media . You can also set boundaries that allow you to use certain social media tools such as LinkedIn but that exclude the use of others such as Instagram.
How Talkspace’s Clinically Based Therapy App Can Help to Alleviate Symptoms of Social Media Dysfunction
Talkspace was founded in 2012 as an online therapy app. It consists of licensed therapists who are available anytime that clients need to discuss their mental health issues via texts, voice messages or video chats. Clients pay a monthly fee for unlimited text therapy, and they can switch therapists anytime to find one who is a better fit. This form of therapy has really taken off with people who communicate more effectively with the written word rather than with traditional, in-person conversations.
Ironically, the online therapy provider recognized the detriments of excessive social media usage, and its leaders used social tools to address the problem. The Talkspace online therapy app allows clients to access its 12-week social media dependency program. The program delivers customized strategies for clients who want to take charge of their mental health as it relates to social media usage.