When was the last time you logged out of your favorite social media account? How did it make you feel? When you’re interacting with people online, do you feel happy and excited or inadequate?
If you’re dissatisfied with your online interactions, you’re not alone. Spending time surrounded by negative personalities can deflate anyone’s mood. Fortunately, you can take steps to make your online space more positive. Here are nine tips to guide you in the right direction.
1. Update Your Privacy Settings
What do you do when an acquaintance regularly posts things that drag you down? You could always hit the “unfriend” button, but if you know each other in real life, that could impact your relationship. Does this mean you’re doomed to witness their negativity every time you log in?
Nope! Social media outlets such as Facebook allow you to limit your views of a specific individual’s posts. You can use the “unfollow” function to remain friends with a Debbie Downer and remove their moaning and groaning from your feed. They won’t know you’ve blocked their information, and you’ll protect your precious peace of mind.
If a particular individual insists on posting disparaging replies to your posts, add them to your restricted list. This way, your posts won’t appear in their feed and prompt their snarky attitude.
2. Learn to Choose Your Battles
Ah, the social media flame war. You can easily waste entire days ripping someone to shreds online. But does doing so bring positive change or benefit you in any way? No.
You can usually tell when someone is provoking an argument deliberately, so refuse to feed the trolls. If someone makes an inflammatory comment on your page, delete it and unfriend or restrict them as you see fit. Reach out to them privately if you know them and want to preserve your offline relationship.
If you witness a war raging on someone else’s page, consider the time you’ll lose by getting involved. What are the chances you’ll convince an online denier that climate change is a threat? They’re not very good. You’re better off using that time to write a letter to the editor or even running your empties to the recycling center to save the planet.
3. Pause and Count to 24
It’s tempting to use your social media pages as your diary. Yes, it’s entertaining to see your memories pop up in the future — unless they come back to haunt you. Before posting anything potentially inflammatory or negative, hit the pause button. Resolve to wait for 24 hours before posting.
This way, you give yourself the psychological freedom to share potentially disturbing information in the future, but you also give yourself time to exercise your best judgment. Other people don’t always need to know your bad news, so make sure you’re not complaining for complaining’s sake.
4. Explore Apps and Groups to Get Active
If you spend too many hours staring at your phone, you’re risking both your mental health and physical comfort. The forward motion causes the muscles behind your neck to overstretch, resulting in a “tech neck.” This condition creates ongoing pain and headaches. Some younger adults have even developed bone spurs in their skulls from the disorder.
Fortunately, you can use apps to help you get active as well as to socialize with friends. You’ll find tons of free workouts on YouTube. Set a timer on your phone to remind you to get up and stretch throughout the day, too. Many fitness apps include social media groups as part of the membership, so join these to socialize with others who value fitness.
5. Sprinkle Emojis Everywhere
If you haven’t noticed by now, it’s challenging to discern your tone via online communication. One way you can indicate that you’re joking? Use an emoji — or three!
Most platforms contain a host of these miniature expressions.
6. Wish Your Online Circle Well
When your friend’s birthday appears on social media, take the time to wish them well. When they share a picture of their puppy, give it a heart reaction.
You want your online circle to react to your posts, right? If you do, return the favor by showing them love, too.
7. Curb Your Competitive Urge
Sometimes, you can become depressed when the accomplishments of others bombard you nonstop. If you carry your phone everywhere, you might feel like you can’t escape notifications about your undergraduate best friend’s new car or job promotion. If you’re struggling to afford an oil change, this competition can leave you feeling inadequate.
Learn to unplug sometimes. Lock your phone in a desk drawer while you’re working to shut out distractions. Leave your devices at home when you go on an adventure, or at least wait to post pictures until you return. Give yourself a social media holiday and go live your real life.
Make Your Online Experience Positive
There’s a lot of conflicting information right now about the impact social media and the internet is having on our health. At the end of the day though, you have the power to determine whether your online experience is positive or negative, and whether you want to continue using it the way you do or make a change. By following a few simple suggestions, you might be able to continue enjoy being connected while warding off negative energy.