The Hidden Pitfalls of Social Media - Are You Caught in the "Social Media Trap?"

October 04, 2017

Always on, always available, connecting, supporting, inspiring, and yes, comparing. Researchers find that the more time some people spend on social media, the more depressed they become as they compare their lives to others. Don't let social media breed self-hate and feed insecurities.

Enjoy social media and the connectedness it brings to the people in your life, but keep in mind these six components of social media to keep a healthy outlook on life IRL (in real life).

  • Remember there's plenty of happiness, beauty and success to go around. Just because someone is having a great life doesn't mean yours isn't just as great. The world isn't going to run out of awesome.Realize that social media is the highlight reel. We only post the top 1 percent of our day, not the average 99 percent. Everyone has bad hair days.
  • Be proactive instead of reactive. When you start negatively comparing yourself to others, you're only reacting to the situation. Instead of feeling down, do something! Set a goal and achieve it.
  • Recognize that likes do not equal love. Research shows that getting "likes" triggers the same pleasure as taking drugs. Just as you'd say "no" to drugs, do not hand over your self-worth to anyone with a smartphone.
  • Alternately, it's easy to get bogged down by the tumultuous, ranting-nature some people bring to social media.  Bear in mind everyone has an opinion about things happening in the world and social media is the latest outlet to express these views. Stepping back and not engaging in an argumentative conversation on social media does not mean you're unpassionate about an issue.
  • If social media feels like a burden from the negativity take a social media vacation.  Reset. Refresh. And when you're ready to go back on social media, recognize if you're feeling worse after reintroducing social media into your life.  Ask yourself--is it worth it? Maybe it's time to ditch one social media site for a different one with less negativity—or it's time to cut social media out entirely. Life still goes one whether you're on social media or not.