Comparison is the thief of joy.
What role does Facebook play in your life? If you’re like most people, it has a starring role.
The average person spends nearly two hours on their social media accounts each day. Not only can Facebook be addictive, but it can also put your relationship in jeopardy–Believe it or not, Facebook is now being cited in many divorces, and 25 percent of people say they fight about social media on a WEEKLY basis!
Nor do the risks end there. Social media usage has been strongly linked to an increased risk of depression–people who use social media everyday are 2.7 times more likely to suffer from symptoms of depression.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying social media and embracing all of the awesome technology that exists in our modern world, but certain online behavior can be a killer for your bond and your mood.
Here are the top social media behaviors you should avoid:
1) Avoid topics that trigger you. Does hearing about Donald Trump make you instantly enraged? Do you get frustrated by “P.C. culture” or hearing about progressive policies? If so, take steps to protect your mood. Think of your smartphone or tablet as a window to the outside. If you saw a bunch of wasps flying around outside your window, you would quickly close it. Or, if it suddenly started to storm outside, you would probably close the screen. Similarly, protect your mind the same way you would protect your home – after all, your mind is your true home.
2) Watch your words. Nothing is more cringe-inducing than watching a couple fight with each other online, but I also think it is equally damaging when we use social media to insult ourselves online. Be careful when saying things like “No way am I going to be getting in a bikini this vacation…Holy stretch marks!” or “Another day at this crappy job. So much for my promotion.” Frankly, I prefer to see people lauding what is awesome about themselves and their lives. I don’t consider it bragging to speak of your accomplishments or to post a cute selfie. As long as you post about other things, there’s nothing self-centered about self-love. In fact, I believe we won’t be able to cure most of society ills until we all start loving ourselves.
3) Don’t hate-read. Have you heard the term hate-reading or hate-watching? It is when people purposely seek out material they find grating, just so they can rant about it or roll their eyes about how awful the subject matter is. (Let’s hope you aren’t hate-reading this! J) But life is so short, and we have such limited free time to read and expand our minds. Instead of clicking through a gossip website and rolling your eyes at the Kardashians or leaving a snarky comment on a magazine story, rise above. Get that stuff off your feed (ignore/hide button is a godsend!) Fill your page up with inspirational quotes or beautiful poetry, or follow people who are in the career field you desire…whatever sparks your soul and speaks to your muse. LOVE-read for a change, don’t hate-read.
4) Don’t talk up your spouse online, only to trash him “IRL” (in real life). I love seeing people share thoughtful and caring messages about their partners. But, be careful that you are not all flash and no substance. Recent research showed that people who brag the most about their relationship online are actually the most likely to be insecure in their bond and could be headed for a breakup. Sweet anniversary messages only mean as much as the effort behind them—if a quick throwaway message is all you are offering each other, you are both going to find yourself feeling very disconnected.
5) Speak your dreams into reality. What we think we become. So it is safe to say that we POST we become. Look back at your social media sites for the last few months. What do you see? Complaints about bills, whining about traffic, or ranting about politics? Do you see posts tearing down women for their fashion choices or posts complaining about sports stars? You might think “eh, it’s just Facebook, who cares?”, but we are spending TWO hours a day on these activities on average. That’s 14 hours a week…more time than some of us spend outside or with our families or on activities that are actually fulfilling and meaningful.
At the end of the day, social media is what you make of it. It could be a way for you to connect with people and become inspired and engaged in your community, or it could be a source of pettiness, competition and jealousy. The choice is up to you.