5 tips for healthier social-media use
Psychologist Alexis Karris Bachik has advice for sidestepping pitfalls that can lead to mental-health problems.
Despite growing concern about the mental-health impacts of social media, it can produce positive effects as well.
“If used appropriately, social media can promote well-being,” said Alexis Karris Bachik, Ph.D., professor of Psychological Sciences at Metropolitan State University of Denver. “For example, sharing a kind word, expressing gratitude, offering support, liking a comment or post, commenting, posting or generating your own content (selfies included) – all of these things can boost your mental health.”
There is no tradeoff for real, direct connection with ourselves and others, she added. We need to be able to sit with our feelings, without distraction, to move through them and to be OK doing nothing, just being still with ourselves.
“When was the last time you delighted in the beautiful mountains, or the leaves on the tree, the sun on your face or the sound of laughter?” Bachik asked.
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Bachik’s research specialty is positive psychology, the scientific study of optimal human living, and she has some tips to build a healthier relationship with social media.
You know that thing you do where you start scrolling negative content on TikTok and then an hour later you look up and wonder where the time has gone? Don’t do that. A great way to stay in check is to use app limits on your device to ensure that you’re not spending too much time looking through your feeds. Set a timer for 30 minutes of scrolling after you do a load of laundry or finish a work task or school assignment.
Do a friends-and-followers deep clean
Taking time to whittle down your friends and followers to people who really matter will curate your feed to ensure that you’re seeing only positive content and will limit unnecessary noise.
Remove alerts and notifications related to social
Leave on only important alerts so you don’t get distracted or sidetracked during the day.
Take a social-media fast
Take a step back or remove apps from your phone for a while. Use the time to reflect on how you feel about the experience and note any positive changes to your mental health and well-being as a result of the fast.