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Make Social Media Work For Your Mental Health

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Social Media, But Healthy

Social media has a bad reputation, and rightly so. It’s calculated to trick you into doomscrolling and rage-posting, and it encourages you to compare your everyday life to other people’s carefully-curated highlight reels.

Rebalancing Dopamine (Without “Dopamine Fasting”)

But it doesn’t have to be so.

Find your community

One of the biggest strengths social media has going for it is that it can, if used well, be a powerful tool for community. As for why that’s important from a health perspective, see:

How To Beat Loneliness & Isolation

Loneliness & isolation do, of course, kill people. By:

  • Accidents, e.g. household fall but nobody notices for a week
  • Depression and resultant decline (and perhaps even active suicidality)
  • Cognitive decline from a lack of social contact

Read more:

So, what’s “community” to you, and to what extent can you find it online? Examples might include:

  • A church, or other religious community, if we be religious
  • The LGBT+ community, or even just a part of it, if that fits for us
  • Any mutual-support oriented, we-have-this-shared-experience community, could be anything from AA to the VA.

Find your people, and surround yourself with them. There are more than 8,000,000,000 people on this planet, you will not find all the most compatible ones with you on your street.

Grow & nurture your community

Chances are, you have a lot to contribute. Your life experiences are valuable.

Being of service to other people is strongly associated “flourishing”, per the science.

Indeed, one of the questions on the subjective wellness scale test is to ask how much one agrees with the statement “I actively contribute to the happiness and wellbeing of others”.

See: Are You Flourishing? (There’s a Scale)

So, help people, share your insights, create whatever is relevant to your community and fits your skills (it could be anything from art to tutorials to call-to-action posts or whatever works for you and your community)

As a bonus: when people notice you are there for them, they’ll probably be there for you, too. Not always, sadly, but there is undeniable strength in numbers.

Remember it’s not the boss of you

Whatever social media platform(s) you use, the companies in question will want you to use it in the way that is most profitable for them.

Usually that means creating a lot of shallow content, clicking on as many things as possible, and never logging off.

Good ways to guard against that include:

  • Use the social media from a computer rather than a handheld device
  • Disable “infinite scroll” in the settings, if possible
  • Set a timer and stick to it
  • Try to keep your interactions to only those that are relevant and kind (for the good of your own health, let alone anyone else’s)

On that latter note…

Before posting, ask “what am I trying to achieve here?” and ensure your action is aligned with your actual desires, and not just reactivity. See also:

A Bone To Pick… Up And Then Put Back Where We Found It

Take care!

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