Take a look at my perfect life! My ideal job. My ecstatically happy family (who I never argue with). My fabulous holiday pics. My brand-spanking-new car. My shiny, expensive watch. My dinner that looks like it just came from a Gordon Ramsay kitchen. Envious? I hope so. I've gone to a lot of effort to create all this B.S!
Are you one of the ones being fooled and tricked by social media? When you use social media, does it depress you? Does it make you feel anxious when you compare your life to others? You're not alone. All the research suggests a rapid and vast increase in anxiety and depression in line with higher social media usage.
But the stats aren't slowing down social media's popularity. Social media is a solid staple of our life diet, with average daily usage topping 2-hours. A third of the world's population logon to Facebook every month. (That's over three billion people!) Running a business, fear of missing out or showing off to friends and family means we're not getting away from social media any time soon.
If we can't beat it, we can certainly make social media usage better. Here are three simple ways to stop social media giving you anxiety.
#1: STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS (AND 'CAN'T CARE')
The most impactful cause of anxiety when using social media is how it gets us comparing ourselves to others. Comparing yourself to others will provide as much misery and anxiety as you can stomach. The reason: we care a great deal about what people think. No one is immune to this excessive level of caring. We all have a deep need for approval from others, usually manifested as painting an ideal and false picture. (Hence the many picture filter options now available.) The solution: rather than say you 'don't care' what people think, say you 'can't care'. Explore this new and liberating mindset in my book, You Care Too Much.
#2: DON'T USE SOCIAL MEDIA
If something is causing you to be miserable, anxious or depressed, why continue to revisit it? The best solution is to avoid it. Don't use it. I know, I know. Avoidance is easier said than done, especially when it comes to social media. Everyone is on social media. If you're not on it, you feel like you're missing out. But if social media usage really is that bad for you, at the very least, it pays to look at reducing your time spent on it. Ask yourself, 'What am I getting from using social media?' If the answer comes back, 'Not very much', or worse, 'Anxious and depressed', it should raise red flags. Just a little more time spent away from social media can make an impact on your well-being.
#3: SEPARATE BUSINESS & PLEASURE
Following on from point #2, if your job is to interact with customers, you run a business, or you're tasked with growing sales, social media will be a key part of that, making its usage unavoidable. But that doesn't mean you have to get swept into the personal side of social media. Separate business and pleasure by putting on your business head. Be a professional and know the fundamental reason you're using social media. It's less about admiring and being envious of someone's holiday pics, and more about the bottom line.