Social media has been praised for its benefits of keeping people connected and also blamed for its contribution to the mental health crisis. The research is diverse and there is not one simple answer to the question of whether social media is harming or benefitting our well-being. What we do know is that there are ways to use social media consciously, so it does not affect our mental health in a negative way. Below are some tips from the Canadian Mental Health Association to support the use of social media in a way that protects your well-being:
Unfollow people or accounts that make you feel insecure, or that make you be someone you are not. Fill your social media feeds with accounts that inspire you and only keep in touch with people who matter to you and care about you.
Set limits for how much time you spend on social media platforms and turn off notifications. Some apps and phones can track how much time you spend on them. For example, Instagram has a feature that allows you to pre-set a daily time limit and get a reminder when your time is up.
Think before posting. Before hitting send on a post, consider whether it is spreading positivity. Take the time to connect with others by adding comments to the content posted and by sharing meaningful posts with others.
Join online communities of like minded people. One of the greatest things about social media is that it makes it possible to connect with anyone from anywhere in the world. Create or join an online community that can help you stay connected, share positivity and learn from one another.
Be mindful of time and place. Do not let social media replace meaningful connections in your life. Try setting some ground rules for where and when you use it. By creating boundaries with the digital world, we can ensure we are fully appreciating the other aspects of our lives.