If checking your Facebook page leaves you feeling a bit down, you are not alone. For many people, seeing picture after picture of acquaintances enjoying great vacations, eating at fabulous restaurants and just generally living the good life can leave them feeling depressed, inadequate, and sad. This problem is so commonplace that it is sometimes referred to as Facebook depression.
And it’s not just Facebook that can rob you of your happiness. Your other social media sites, such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat can also chip away at your well-being by constantly subjecting you to aggravating or sad news stories or bombarding you with images that bring up feelings of envy or jealousy.
So does this mean you should stay off social media sites altogether? No. The Internet and social media sites actually have a lot to offer you as long as you remember the following five social media do’s and don’ts.
1. Do take everything you see on Facebook and other social media sites with a grain of salt.
While it may look like everybody on your Facebook feed is having the time of their lives, remember that you are only seeing a small slice of their universe. No one’s life is perfect. Instead of being jealous of your friend’s good fortune, take the time to practice gratitude by being thankful for the many good things in your own life.
2. Don’t allow yourself to get riled up about politics or other controversial subjects online.
If someone you know is constantly spewing strong viewpoints that are contrary to your own online, it’s very easy to un-friend them on Facebook or to unfollow them on Twitter. But if you’re like many others, you may find it hard to take that step. Perhaps, you’re afraid that person will find out that you have disconnected on social media from them. Chances are they’ll never notice, but if you just can’t bear the thought of un-friending them on Facebook, you can always unfollow them. By doing this, the person will still be your Facebook friend, but their comments will no longer show up in your newsfeed.
3. More importantly, never engage in arguments or heated exchanges with others online.
It’s not worth the aggravation because chances are you’ll never be able to change that person’s mind, especially if they are a “troll.” These online bullies enjoy hiding behind their anonymity and trying to get a rise out of others by baiting them with hurtful or obnoxious comments. Their happiness is robbing you of yours. Don’t let them succeed.
4. Do use social media sites such as Meet Ups to find new friends who share your interests.
Keeping up with your friends and acquaintances online can be fun, but it’s also important to make an effort to get out into the “real” world. And sites like Meet-ups will help you to find groups of like-minded individuals in your area. Want to find a group to go hiking with or to play kickball with? More than likely you’ll be able to find one on Meet-up.
5. Don’t over analyze your social media interactions.
Have you fretted over a friend request that you sent that has never been answered or been disappointed because only a few of your online friends responded to a status that was important to you? If so, you need to understand that many people don’t check their social media sites on a regular basis and so may have missed your posts or notifications.
6. Don’t spend too much time checking your social media sites.
There is nothing really wrong with checking your Facebook and other accounts on occasion. But if you find that they are constantly bringing you down or making you feel sad — even after you’ve tried the steps mentioned above — then you need to cut back on the time you spend on your social media sites.