I know you’ve been there…browsing through your Facebook Feed, staring at everyone else’s picture-perfect life, and feeling more and more like a discarded booger stuck to the bedroom wall of a 7 year-old boy (umm…let’s move on).
What about this one: You’re having a shower, and the funniest anecdote enters your mind. You can barely believe how clever this tidbit is. Everyone is going to love it (and they’ll finally see how truly amazing you are). You finish quickly and run to your phone, type in the masterpiece, and press ‘post’…
You finish getting dressed, and look at your phone…
You make a sandwich, and look at your phone…
You decide to ignore your phone for as long as you can. You manage 48 minutes.
So how do we keep our emotional equilibrium, while enjoying our beloved social network? Here are 7 tips from your Favourite Therapist…YES, I DO mean me
- FIRST, be aware of your emotional state BEFORE you browse. If you’re already having a bad day (or month) then you will DEFINITELY be more inclined to negative comparisons. The same goes for posting, pay attention to how you are feeling before you post, if you are already feeling VULNERABLE, then you will be HIGHLY SENSITIVE to people’s feedback, or lack there of.
- SECOND, If you ARE in a bad state of mind (sad, grumpy, feeling down on yourself) and you want to interact on Facebook, there are things you can do to help yourself relax. This technique served me well a few years ago when my son (then, 3) was working with a speech pathologist to encourage him to speak more (now I can’t get him to shut up) Being a new mom, I was very anxious about the whole thing, and it got to a point that I would get super-anxious from just seeing her email address in my inbox (which would make it very difficult to actually read her emails). So I created a simple plan that helped me Get Back to Neutral.
- Pay close attention to the way your body feels (heavy sensation in your gut, fluttery feeling in your chest, sweaty palms, etc.)
- Use your breath (slow, deep breaths) to CONSCIOUSLY calm down the physical sensations in your body. Deep cleansing breath in – Deep releasing breath out.
- Now, pay attention to the negative talk in your mind, and QUESTION it: Are you real? Are you correct? Are you reasonable? Have you been proven? What if you’re wrong? What are some other perspectives?
- THIRD, don’t forget: EVERYONE is in the same boat. Take it from me, as a Therapist, I see people at their most vulnerable: EVERYONE IS INSECURE!! And I mean everyone. And the people you think are the least insecure, well, they are the MOST.
- FOURTH, disconnect to gain perspective. I promise you- You WILL NOT DIE, you will still have friends, and you WILL find something else to do. Periodic disconnection from social media can help you re-gain perspective and see that there is a world outside of your computer where you are loved and appreciated.
- FIFTH, engage rather than passively browse. Research shows that when you actively engage (comment, like, share, message) on social media rather than simply browse through information, you are less likely to be negatively affected by no-one commenting on your post or status update.
- SIXTH, be aware of who your [social media] friends are because you are inviting them into your living room on a daily basis. Are these people that make you feel good? Are they positive and empowering? Or do they bring you down? Remember that with one click you can eliminate these negative people from your daily life. Imagine what that would be like…
- SEVENTH, work on your self-esteem. It wouldn’t hurt. Try: EFT, Mindfulness, or CBT.