We can’t escape it, and honestly, do we want to? It’s like our thumbs were designed for scrolling! The constant buzz, the likes, the smileys, the dog photos, the ability to peer into someone’s life, the shopping, the watching….it’s all so…. satisfying! But what about the times where it makes you feel inadequate? Or when you’re in an awkward place and all you’d like to do is stare at your phone? There’s no denying that there’s a place for social media, but there’s also a healthy place for social media that people forget to prioritize.
One night I was at a dance party and I was feeling a little less than sober, and all I wanted to do was sit down and rest a little bit. But sitting alone at a party can make me a little anxious, so my obvious next step was to get on my phone. However, the last thing that I wanted to do was to hop into my portal of other people’s lives, because hell, my life was pretty dang good at that moment, and I really just wanted to avoid awkward eye contact. I asked myself, what would make me happy right now? And of the course the answer was 'plants'! So I spent the next 20 minutes of this party scrolling through Pinterest smiling at the all the pretty plant photos. I regained my strength and found my friends back on the dance floor - in an even better mood than I originally was. I asked myself, could social media help make me this happy all the time?
The answer is yes! Social media can make you happy if you use it in an intentional way. While social media has a permanent spot in our lives, we can either use it to darken ourselves, or to brighten lives.
Here are four ways you can utilize social media in a healthier-for-you way:
Use Pinterest more. Pinterest has become a database of beautiful imagery to scroll through. If nothing else, use it as a tool to help calm anxious moments, search for ‘farmland sunset’ and drift away into imagery that is calming and serene. You can also use Pinterest if you’re trying a social media detox as it can be used for those awkward moments where you’re avoiding eye contact.
Turn off your notifications. Turning these off will bring you back into the present and reserve social media time for the times you choose to interact with it. It will also help reduce the constant buzz that interrupts our lives.
Hide your social media apps. Move the app that gives you the least amount of joy to a folder or a page on your phone that you can’t easily see. Out of sight out of mind. Keeping it downloaded will help fight those ‘I can’t have it so I want it’ feelings, and if you’re like me and you choose to hide Facebook you can do still use its data to log into other apps.
Follow your inspiration. No, literally! What makes you happy? Is it plants? Is it motivational quotes? Cats dressed up as things? Graphic design? You don’t have to unfollow the accounts that don’t make you happy, cause there’s a place for those (I’m not denying it!) but you should follow more of things that make you happy.
Social media has become a staple in our lives. And that’s okay. But when it creates anxiety, FOMO, and depression, there’s an imbalance between you and your technology. By becoming more intentional in the way you use social media you can become more present, calm, and bright. And the world could always use more brightness.