Is social media ruining your life?


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Research shows that those who use social networking sites regularly are more likely to feel lonely and alienated.

Social networking ruins lives? Sounds a little bit extreme doesn’t it? But how often have you been at a concert or a wedding and watched someone filming the proceedings on the their phone (as opposed to watching it), so they can upload it onto social networking? It’s even become more commonplace for people to announce births, engagements, and even deaths on Facebook and Twitter, often to hundreds of people they don’t actually count as friends.

Most of us are guilty of whiling away the time on the train, or at a bus stop scrolling through our newsfeeds, but how often do you find you’ve actually wasted an hour? Or even longer?

Okay there are worse things to be addicted to than a social networking site and it’s unlikely that spending a lot of time online will kill you, but excessive use is linked to feelings of depression and emotional issues. Read on to find out how you might benefit from a digital detox.

 

Track your time

Make a conscious effort to acknowledge how often you go onto social networking sites and monitor just how long you spend on them. This is a good way to find out if you are doing it without realising and how much of your day you are spending online. Get into the habit of noting down what time you log on at and when you log off, as well as where you are spending your time.

 

Dump anyone that makes you feel bad

Whether it’s the popular woman from work boasting about how much weight she’s lost and how perfect her kids are, or the friend who always tags you in unflattering pictures, it could be time to be a little more selective about who you are friends with. Do not spend any of your valuable time on people who make you feel bad about yourself. If you feel weird about deleting them then just hide their updates so you don’t need to read their posts. And limit who sees your posts so they can’t be nosing into your life!

 

Make better use of your time

Have a think about what you could be doing instead – once you’ve worked out how long you were online commit to a daily activity that you always say you don’t have time for. It could be a 20-minute work out, a long soak in the bath, or even just reading a book.

 

Have a spring clean

Do you really need 500 friends? Do you speak to these people regularly, or have their mobile numbers? If not, it’s time for a clear out. Whilst it is nice to stay in touch with people, it’s also important to assess who you have a genuine interest in and also who you want to share personal information and pictures with.

 

Couple sitting back to back and looking at phones

 

Phone a friend

A good way to find out if you are on social networking sites too often is to listen to your loved ones. Have they passed comment on how often you are on your phone? Or complained that you’ve tagged them in pictures they didn’t actually want online? There’s a good chance it’s irritating them.

 

Cut back on posts

If you are a frequent poster set yourself a challenge to post, or tweet, less than you normally do. Do 500 people really care that you’ve been to the gym that day, or that you are stuck in traffic? Probably not.

 

Pros and cons

Make a list of the pros and cons. A plus point might be that it lets you keep in touch with friends that live abroad, whilst a point against could be that you find yourself comparing your life to other people, which in turn can affect your self-esteem.

 

Turn off your notifications

If your phone isn’t pinging to alert you to the fact that someone has re-tweeted you, or liked a status, you are less likely to find yourself accidentally logging on.

 

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Remember that it’s not real life

It’s not a new concept that social networking sites can make you feel bad about yourself. It’s important to remember that you are seeing an edited version of someone’s life. Most people only post about the positive things that have happened to them and omit the negative. And remember all those stunning ‘selfies’ have probably been run through a variety of filters!

 

Turn off to switch off

Using tablets and smart phones on such a regular basis has a huge impact on how able we are to switch off. Many of us log on to social networking sites every time we have a spare few minutes, whether that be on a lunch break, waiting on the bus, or during an advert break. All these different communication messages can over stimulate your mind which in turn makes it harder to concentrate – and be creative. Before smart phones, when you had a spare five minutes, you would have let your mind wander and these windows of ‘non-stimulation’ are essential to allow your mind to work creatively and come up with come up with new ideas, plans for the future and process fresh thoughts.

 

Cut back on your access

If you find that you normally access the sites from your smart phone delete the apps. You will find that you are less inclined to log on if you actually have to go and fire up the laptop. Try this, even if it’s only for a matter of weeks!

Could you live without social media?
What impact is it having on your life?
Let us know on Twitter and Facebook.


Laura Coventry