We all understand that social media can be immensely pleasurable but also if used in the wrong way, dangerous to your mental health. Here are some things to be aware of as a cautionary tale. If none apply, enjoy the countless connections and entertainment without concern.

1. You look for LIKES

You post a picture of you doing something with someone and then look for the LIKES. If you get tons of LIKES your day is made. Conversely, if no one likes your post you feel unloved (or unLIKEd in this case). The same goes in reverse when others post with an expectation that you ought to LIKE their post. They in turn depend on your reaction to make their day complete. Before long you might feel guilty when you don’t hit like on someone’s posts. In any variation on this theme it’s a slippery slope to navigate and a waste of emotional air time. Makes one harken back glowingly to the days where you could only like someone in person, via snail mail or that thing called a land line phone.

2. You post all the time (and by that I mean ALL THE TIME)

You can’t enjoy a picnic, a concert, a day on the beach or just your kids visit unless it’s posted for all to see. This is a red flag that you might be seeking approval or even worse looking to make others’ jealous —while not in the moment at all. It’s not your real life you are sharing, just your most envy-worthy moments. You could be looking to validate that you are worthy and loved or masking some insecurities better dealt with in another way. Keep a handle on how much you post as well as your motivation.

3. You spend too much time looking at others’ posts throughout your day

Only you can judge what too much time is but honestly if you are spending more time viewing others’ posts than the time it takes you to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea a day, it’s too much. You might be simply living vicariously and potentially avoiding things that require attention in your own life.

4. You wake up and look at Insta or Facebook first thing

This is a hard habit to break, but if you begin your day this way you give up your first thoughts to someone else’s. In this way you neglect all the healthier ways to start your day, like focusing mindfully on a healthy breakfast or doing the NYT crossword mini puzzle (a favorite of mine).

5. Your emotions are highjacked with ups and downs based on Social Media

You feel sad, happy, hurt, left out, jealous, incomplete all based on posts you see. This is a huge warning sign felt right in your gut and not only relevant to teenagers whose anxiety we hear so much about. Adults can ride the same emotional waves. Take a reading of how you feel when you get on Social Media. Are you anxious or calm? Desperate or content? Are the people you follow those you trust with your feelings in real life? If your emotions get carried away by Posts or Comments, it’s time to take a break, or maybe just follow fewer people.

With all that said, there are wonderful and healthy ways to include Social Media in your life, and I for one am not giving it up. Just monitor your Social Media behavior and reactions to avoid the pitfalls.



The Top 5 Dangers of Social Media (time for a reminder) was last modified: by

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