Question: I feel down when I look at Facebook entries and status updates. What to do?
Answer: Though the most logical thing would be not to keep checking Facebook, what’s app or snap chat updates, I guess it is difficult not to! One part of you may be telling you not to get hooked on to social media so much, but the other part is drawn to it and that is what gets difficult to manage. The thing is, it is not always easy to do the sensible thing all the time I suppose, for any of us.
One issue to explore would be whether you are defining yourself completely by the number of likes or comments on your wall. While it is validating to be appreciated, ask yourself if it makes sense to be swayed by a mere mindless click by someone, who is possibly doing it without paying too much attention and perhaps doing so to expect a “like” from you!
Also ask yourself whether it is really possible for people to be happy always and to have happening lives all the time? The problem with social networking updates/statuses is that it provides a lopsided version of the truth and there’s no way of knowing whether it is so, because you cannot see the whole picture or context. So not everything that is put up on Facebook is for real/it is not the whole picture.
Question: How do I deal with my lows or my anxieties?
Answer: Ask yourself the following questions too. Does being on Facebook help you feel better or make you feel worse? Do you believe that others are happier just because they put up happy pictures and updates on Facebook? Do you keep comparing your lives with that of your friends and feel that everyone seems to be happier than you are? That somehow you don’t measure up because your life seems to be tame compared to that of your “Facebook friends”. Are you hit by the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) syndrome? But what are you missing out on anyway?
There are a few things that you can do to balance the time spent on social networking. Have a dedicated half hour or so once a day to check your notifications or updates. If it gets you into a negative mind frame then log out immediately and do something else. Call your best friend (not a ‘Fakebook’ friend!), go for a run in the park, listen to some music, play with your dog or cat if you have one or do any one activity that will make you happy. Take back the power into your own hands and don’t allow Facebook to rule your life. Human beings are wired to connect, so instead of limiting it to online connection, look at ways to connect offline too.
Of course this is not to say that everything about Facebook or social networking is bad. There are opportunities to network, get in touch with interesting groups, get useful information etc. But as with everything else in life, moderation is the key. So go get a real life….
Expert: Ms Sukanya S, Consultant therapist at Columbia Asia hospital and an independent practitioner, stress management coach and content writer