Life Over Books

Feeling Depressed? Blame the Time You Spend on Social Media

Let’s face it. Social media sure does stir up emotions- of joy, some cheer and quite often sadness too. There are good reasons to have social media accounts. You could share daily tidbits with family and friends, or network with people of similar interests. But, here is something else that social media comes with. Its usage could spell a slew of powerful negative emotions too– all at a subconscious level and they transcend the keyboard.

From way back in 2006…

Remember the days of Orkut? Well, it was the first of its kind and created a lot of excitement. It sure did help me connect with long lost friends. It was simple and sweet. But we humans don’t like it that way, do we?

Slowly and steadily, a plethora of social media platforms to share practically everything in one’s life came up and they invaded my personal space. Life without them now seemed impossible. From why the neighborhood stray dogs barked all night, to the color of my friend’s sister’s friend’s wedding dress, social media fed me with my daily dose. My mobile flooded with feeds and would consume precious hours of my life when I would read random posts of people I seldom interacted with.

And soon began the problems – of excess social media usage. It first came in the form of reduced attention span and a decrease in productivity. I would refresh feeds and check for notifications often. Over time, the negative emotions began taking shape. I would be upset with my diminishing social reach due to networks bursting at the seams with users.

Was I also becoming cynical and jealous of people? Maybe, but that’s when I decided it’s time I handled the situation before it went for the worse.

Social Media- it is a way to network and keep in touch

But when it goes overboard, that’s when the negative thoughts seep in and one may end up with “Social Media Depression!” This is a more informal way to describe the depressive thoughts associated with the use of social media. This would encompass:

  • Social Media OCD– A typical Obsessive Compulsive Disorder where you feel the urge to constantly check your social media updates and feeds.
  • The Grass is Greener Feeling– It’s that feeling you get when you see happy pictures of others and sulk! It’s the feeling that everyone apart from you is happy.
  • The neglected and dejected feeling: “Damn! Why have I got lesser likes today?” The feeling of neglect when your post or pic isn’t noticed enough to get those likes.
  • Interpretation or is it misinterpretation? : “Why did he unfriend me? He dislikes me, I am sure”. Before you have a chance to obtain a reasonable explanation, your day is already ruined.

Much as it may seem the entire planet has taken shape to remain plugged in 24/7, the truth is we need to learn to take a break consciously from the digital world. It’s a much needed thing to take that social media detox on a regular basis, trust me the feel would be refreshing.

  • Turn of notifications from your phone/gadgets. Better still; remove those apps that keep beeping every time your friend likes a post. Restrict your usage to the laptop/desktop. It would prevent you from peeking into your gadget every 5 minutes.
  • Keep gadgets away from your dining table and definitely do not carry it with you to bed. Dinner tables are for family time, and a gadget should not be eating into that quality time. The same goes to the bed room. Keep them away; set a specific place in your home to access emails and notifications. Trust me you would sleep well and wake up fresh, instead of looking at your notifications the first thing in the morning.
  • Schedule your posts. If you are the kinds who have a lot to say and need to post them out regularly on social media, do schedule them in advance. There are apps available that help you do so.
  • Emails and replies could be done in batches. Not all of them require immediate responses.
  • Cut down on wasteful apps that do nothing but send you lame jokes. It’ll free up some room on your feed and you may spend time just seeing what your friends are actually up to.
  • And finally, give yourself some rest. Pause and breathe. The world out there is still beautiful, far more than the one on social media. Indulge in meaningful conversations with family and friends; go for a stroll and maybe day-dream too.

That break from social media would do you good, trust me!

*Image Source: Deccan Chronicle 

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