Social media is a part of our lives—it is how we stay connected with people all over the world, how companies can interact with customers instantly, and how our current president dictates policy and personal gripes to the people.
Because social media has become such a central figure in daily life, it has some unpleasant side effects. 2018 can be the year to create a healthier relationship with this daily influence, however. Get ready for the new year by considering some of these resolutions!
1) Create a “stopping cue” for social media surfing
Back in the old days, our media and entertainment consumption had built-in cues for us to stop and move onto something else. Books have chapters, TV shows had cliffhangers (and the inability to binge-watch), and news programs ended. Today, we have limitless information at our fingertips and there are few, if any, signals out there to tell us when it’s time to stop.
Create your own “stopping cue” for mindless scrolling to avoid being sucked into an unhealthy pattern. Adam Alter discusses his personal stopping cue in his Ted Talk: putting phones away once dinner begins. The table being set and ready for a meal is his stopping cue. What stopping cues can you create?
2) Unfollow people or pages that make you unhappy
We have all encountered content out there that rubs us the wrong way. Perhaps a certain page only posts articles meant to get people fired up and angry at the state of the world. Or maybe one content creator consistently posts impossibly staged bikini pics and you are struggling with body image. The pages that do not enhance our lives should be unfollowed.
3) Rethink the kind of things you post
Some people use social media as a place to only post the happy highlights from their day-to-day and others tend to use it as a personal diary of all the frustrating things that happen to them. Take some time to analyze how you post and determine whether how you do it is truly helpful or if it could use some tweaks.
4) Pick your battles
Social media arguments can be a huge time-suck. If you think the back-and-forth is worthy and you have the energy for it, then—by all means—continue. But if walking away and doing an activity that actually makes you feel good is the better choice, switch it up.
5) Cut people some slack
Over time, as we follow certain people or pages, we get to know their style and have a (somewhat odd, if you think about it) slightly voyeuristic glimpse into their lives. And sometimes we don’t like what we see. Someone’s writing style can get on our nerves, their content can make us roll our eyes, or their genuine discussions of their feelings can make us think “oh, shut up.” This is more of a sign of something off with us, rather than the person. The next time we feel our eyes start to roll, cut the person some slack and resist judgment.
6) Consider doing a gratitude challenge
One way to positively interact with social media is by taking on a “challenge.” There are tons of them out there, including #100daysofhappy and several different trends for consistently posting about gratitude, happiness and growth. You could begin a fitness regimen and use social media for accountability. You could use Instagram to post pics of the everyday experiences that bring you thanks. Changing up the way you see and use social media can have a positive effect on our overall mental health.