Olivia Harvey
March 31, 2017 3:12 pm
Getty Images / martin-dm

Social media is a fickle friend. It can be the source of so much joy and happiness or it can be the cause of an exorbitant amount of stress. If you’re in a situation where your social media accounts are adding more stress to an already burning fire of anxiety, then it might be time to make a few changes to the way you use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.

Being constantly connected to your web of friends and followers can take a lot out of you. Curating your online persona takes thought and energy. It can sometimes seem as though we are living two lives — one in the “real world” and another online. And because we put so much into our social media accounts, it’s no wonder that they can be a source of stress.

Speaking of stress, April is Stress Awareness Month. People across the country are talking about stress, its impacts, and what we can do to reduce it. Which means it’s the perfect time to sit down and consider what the most significant stressors are in your life. Maybe social media is one of them. If so, read on.

Here are eight little changes you can make on social media that will greatly reduce the stress you’re feeling.

1Delete your social media apps from your phone

The absolute best way to relieve yourself from feeling the pressures of social media is to limit your access to it. By deleting social media apps from your phone, you will train yourself not to feel the urge to check how your social media presence is doing on a regular basis. Therefore, you’ll care about social media less and less over time.

To get you through the initial shock of not being connected to a newsfeed at the touch of a fingertip, remind yourself that your disconnection is not the end of the world. You can even let your friends know ahead of time that you’re going on a social media hiatus so they don’t think you’re ghosting them. And who knows? Maybe you can speak on the phone or actually see each other in person instead.

2Only share positive articles and posts

This is kind of an example of the saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” If you’re trying to make your own life less stressful and less cluttered with day-to-day negativity, then start a positivity crusade.

By only sharing positive articles and posts about the good things that are happening in the world, you will brighten up your social media feeds and possibly brighten other people’s days. Reading a short and simple positive story or snippet of advice might be the stress relief solution you’re looking for.

3Follow pages that make you laugh

If you’re not into posting and sharing, then find a healthy amount of humor pages and accounts that can flood your feeds with funny images, gifs, and memes. So when you log onto your social media accounts, you’ll see less posts and shares that cause you stress, and more bits that make you laugh.

It’s not hard to turn your social media accounts into stress relievers rather than stress causers. You can start by following your favorite comedian. See who that person follows, and then continue down the chain of funny. Soon you will have compiled an endless list of humor that can lighten your day with a simple swipe of a finger.

4Spend more time sharing and less time comparing

Hate to break it to ya, but stress from social media usually spawns from seeing what your peers are up to. So and so lost this much weight. This person just got their dream job. Your former classmate got married over the weekend — the list goes on. If you find that you’re constantly comparing yourself to the people you follow, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate why you’re even using your social media accounts.

As this Huffington Post article says, “share don’t compare.” Use your accounts to share positive things about your own life and then log off. Come back to see who replied to your post and engage in simple conversation. Then log off. The worst thing you can do to inflate stress is scroll through your ex’s Instagram page and ask yourself, “what do they have that I don’t?!” Use social medias to boost your self confidence, not destroy it. Because you don’t have to change a single thing about yourself.

5Stay away from comment wars

If you don’t feel like getting enraged at someone across the country, stay away from comment wars. Especially in our current political climate, where tensions are already extremely high, the best thing you can do is keep your comments to yourself. Of course it’s important to share your opinion about a certain situation. But more often than not, the person on the other end has their mind made up and is not looking to be persuaded.

Comment wars start and blow up because it’s easy to argue with a person whom you can’t see. Be the bigger person and turn your disagreement into action. Instead of responding to the person who thinks Planned Parenthood should be terminated, donate a dollar to Planned Parenthood. Not only will you keep stress at bay, but you’ll support a good cause.

6Clean out your friends list

When we were younger, it was a cool thing to “collect” friends on social media — especially on Facebook. But now, those friends might be sharing some pretty depressing stuff. It’s okay to unfriend them or to adjust your settings to not see their posts. You have to think about yourself first and not how the other person might feel if they see you unfollowed them.

“Friend” and follow your actual friends. Following people who lift you up and make you happy in the real world will do the same over social media.

7Limit your social media usage

It might feel like you’re turning into your mother circa 2003, but limiting your social media usage can do wonders for your stressed out brain. Ease into your new time constraint by giving yourself an hour (or less) to check and browse through your accounts. Then in a week, give yourself a half-hour. Try to get yourself down to managing your social media accounts in 15 minutes. At that point, you might be surprised at how indifferent you feel towards being constantly connected.

Limiting your usage will not only decrease dependency, but you’ll start to realize how important living in the real world is. Instead of posting something to a friend’s Facebook wall, give them a call instead. Rather than reading a suspicious article that appeared on your newsfeed, pick up a physical newspaper. And when you’re not comparing yourself to others, you’ll figure out that you can put your energy into doing something fun and positive for yourself. It’s awesome!

8Don’t try to be someone you’re not

You truly do not have to prove anything to anyone via social media. If you start lying about what you’re doing or who you claim to be, then you’ve begun to dig yourself into a very messy hole. This goes back to the comparison factor of social media. We sometimes feel as though we have to live up to some sort of imaginary social media standard, when we absolutely don’t.

If you don’t have anything to share about yourself, then don’t! There’s no reason to inorganically create a scenario just for the purpose of posting on social media. Only post when you have something cool or positive to share — and of course, this includes selfies. Selfies are always okay to share!

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