Facebook Depression: Keep Social Media from Being Toxic!

Here’s the thing about Facebook. It’s really a lot of fun – until it’s not.

One minute you’re cracking up at a picture someone posted of you from high school, and the next you’re looking at one of your best friend’s status update about her terrific job promotion after you’ve just had one of your record worst days at work.

What’s great about Facebook is also what sucks about it.

It tends to be full of funny, happy shares – all great when your own life is going well, but not necessarily so entertaining when you’re in a slump. Also, people tend to only post things that show them in a positive light, so the grass may always look greener, even though they may be going through a really tough time.

No one wants to post the pictures of how they look in the morning before their make-up is on, of their kids having a meltdown at the dinner table, of their significant other sulking in another room. But, be sure, those moments are out there for EVERYONE.

Avoid Facebook Depression – keep Facebook from turning toxic!

To allow it keep on bringing you small moments of happiness and laughter, here are a few tips for how to best use Facebook mindfully.

1. Don’t go on Facebook at night before bed. The last thing you need is someone’s glowing update on their generally fabulous life when you’re trying to get to sleep.

2. Keep a running list in your head of Facebook friends who tend to share funny, self-deprecating, interesting stuff. When you’re surfing Facebook or feeling down, make a point of looking up their status updates. They can bring a welcome chuckle.

3. Try not to look at updates every day from people who always seem to be posting great news. Give it a read once or twice a week and respond appropriately. And try to keep it in perspective.

4. Edit what you read based on what’s going on in your life. For instance, if your child is struggling with school, try to avoid reading status updates from mom friends for a while. Similarly, if your relationship is on the rocks, steer clear of updates from people who you know are in romantic bliss.

5. Post an update that you think will bring funny or uplifting comments. Ask people to reveal who they thought was the worst dressed at the Oscar’s, to share their most embarrassing childhood photo, or to do something silly – like turn to the closest book at hand and make its title the “summary” of their life.

6. If you’re easily riled up by politics, don’t look at Facebook Friends with opposing views when you’re in a bad mood or are trying to relax. Save it for when you’re feeling up for a feisty feud.

7. If you’re comfortable posting pictures or updates about your children, do this to cheer you up. These posts tend to bring lots of sweet comments.

8. Try very hard not to cyber-stalk ex-lovers, old high school or college rivals, or colleagues or bosses who brought you grief. As tempting as it is, it’s wasted energy that will likely drain rather than replenish your happiness quota.

9. Do shout out to Facebook friends in your posts when relevant. This can often lead to a fast, fun back and forth.

10. Try to minimize your Facebook time to 15 minutes a day. Though it’s about social connectedness, it ultimately doesn’t take the place of quality time spent with your loved ones.

Editor’s Note: Recent studies have suggested that Facebook use is associated with a lower sense of well-being. So be mindful out there! Enjoy yourself and take care of yourself. ~KW

Photo Credit: MaxFrost/Shutterstock.com

How do you keep yourself happy and sane while browsing Facebook? Share your experience in a comment!

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