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Social Media and Mental Health

This article, entitled Social Media and Mental Health comes from Nicole Knepper, writer of Moms Who Drink and Swear on chicagonow.com.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (I love Pinterest more than most things ever and always and will never hate it because I want to marry it), Instagram, Reddit, Tumblr, etc.? There are many articles about social media and it’s effect on our mental health. It really is fascinating, you know, and it’s mental health month so, we should talk about it! Oh, and by we, I mean me. I am going to do all the talking right now, but I'd love it if you'd comment at the end of the post if you have something to say.

When I see extreme behavior on social media sites, and by extreme behavior I mean that they are demonstrating an excessive amount of something of other that stands out like a sore thumb.

When something is a bit too odd and a smidge (or a heap) out of context, you just know it. Some things you might see on social media sites might not be extreme or excessive, but they are pretty close. At times, something you see might just rub you wrong and you can’t figure out why. Maybe not. Millions of people use social media for millions of different reasons.

My friend, J, posted this as her status on Facebook the other day…

Most people just want to be listened to. That's probably why (social media) is so popular. If you find someone who is a really good listener, you've found a real treasure.

The social media is a very good listener!

Man, my girl nailed it. We all just want somebody to listen! I think most of us try to listen to what other people are saying. My friend, N, posted this as her status…

Confession: I often 'like' comments simply to show appreciation and acknowledgement. Not because I agree.

What social media is not, is a very good interpreter.

I agree with N. It's good social media manners to show that you are listening and acknowledging another person's need to be heard by "liking," or re-tweeting their stuff. It's a way to tell people they are being heard.

Whatever you see on social media has a purpose, yet sometimes the purpose is something completely different than what you might imagine it to be. If you find yourself in the hate phase of your relationship with social media, finding that much of what you see is triggering negative reactions for you, it’s probably a good idea to think about why.

If you are in the love phase of your relationship with social media, it’s probably because you are in a good place emotionally AND your newsfeed is free of things that trigger your insecurities. For me, it's stuff like the blog, Instagram and Facebook feed from Life with Roozle and tweets by Donny Osmond. I un-follow, hide and don't even toss a validating "I'm listening to you like" or re-tweet to my triggers. But I digress…

Our problems with social media are just that. Our problems.

Awww, go ahead and Facebook them and Tweet them! Instagram some passive-aggressive meme you made with a photo of your neighbor's dog poo piles that are ALL OVER YOUR FRONT LAWN if it makes you feel better, but I'm guessing it won't, unless it will, and in that case - post that literal and metaphorical poop!

I love social media for a few reasons. The first reason is simple. I am a social person. I like people and I want to know what they are up to. Another reason is that I’m nosey and totally fascinated by human behavior. The last thing, and probably the most important thing is that I’m pretty content with my life and have good insight into the areas where I am insecure, so I know what triggers me and I know what to do when my trigger is half-cocked.

When I feel like letting go of the trigger after scrolling through the feed of any of the social media sites I frequent, I know that it’s nobody else’s problem but mine. This is rare for me, so when it happens, I have to wonder…what’s MY deal?

So what’s YOUR deal?

This is a very important thing to consider, because social media isn’t going anywhere. I repeat…

SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T GOING ANYWHERE!

It can be a wonderful thing, too. The Internet is amazing! We share so much online – the good, the bad, the happy and the sad (sorry, I couldn’t resist that Dr. Seuss moment).

When I was a wee girl, I had to wait for the next issue of Tiger Beat to see what my beloved Donny Osmond was up to. Now? Because of Twitter, I don’t have to wonder what would have happened if the chain hadn’t fallen off my bike the day I ran away from home, planning to ride my bike to Utah so that I could make him fall in love with me.

After all, aside from us both being soldiers of love, Donny and I have, like, NOTHING in common. It never would have worked out.

Donny and I were not meant to be.

Knowing this is good for my mental health. I don’t look at my husband and kids sitting in their underpants watching DVR’d episodes of Bob’s Burgers on Sunday morning and think, “what if,” and picture myself a couple dozen strange looking long toothed kids grinning silently while sitting in the front row of one of those giant Mormon churches.

Sigh…Ok, sometimes I do. But I digressed again, didn't I?

Sorry.

So, because it’s mental health month, I want to encourage you to evaluate your use of social media. I encourage you to think about how it makes you feel, why you use it how you use it and whether or not it’s a healthy, enjoyable experience for you. If you hate the social media more than you love it, if you find that it’s just an exercise in rage triggering nonsense, it’s okay to say so and be social in a way that makes you feel good.

Like anything else in life, it’s good to strive for balance (like I wrote about in my blog post about balance that you can read by clicking HERE). If your use of the social media is extreme, excessive and more of a pain than a pleasurable way to connect socially, you know you can go back to the old school way of connecting with people, right? Get together face to face! Call each other up on the telephone or start a snail mail correspondence. Yeah, you read that right - write letters!

If your use of social media makes you feel good, makes you feel safe, connected, inspired, informed and happy, keep doing what you are doing. That’s what I’m doing, and if you haven’t already read the blog Life with Roozle and followed her on Instagram, get on that right now, because this blog is one of top ten reasons I get on social media every stinking day.

ROOZLE!

(And Donny too!)

Buy my enlightening and hilarious book HERE.



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