We live in a society that has been completely indoctrinated by social media... and whether we realize it or not, engaging in social media on a daily basis may not be so beneficial to our health. In fact, it may have dire consequences. The American Academy of Pediatrics has warned about the potential for negative effects of social media in young kids and teens, however the same risks may be true for adults. Studies show that social media can be quite damaging to our mental well-being as well as our physical health. Some of the negative affects that have been identified are depression, anxiety, cyberbullying, unhealthy sleep patterns, addiction, etc.
In regards to social media, Facebook is pretty much the only social media I really engage in nowadays. I like the fact that I can reconnect with old friends, classmates, and so forth on facebook. And although, oftentimes, the conversations I have with people I reconnect with from my past are relatively brief, I still feel a strange sense of connection and satisfaction knowing that almost everyone I've known in my entire life is right there in a list of friends. These so-called friends may read what I post, I can read what they post and we can engage with one another if we choose to. For me, this way of staying in touch, has worked out to my benefit, as I tend to get overwhelmed and even experience anxiety when connecting with people from time to time. So in this regard, facebook has made staying in touch with people much easier for me.
Other positive things I've found about facebook are all the interesting, enlightening and health conscious articles I find to read. I tend to learn a lot on facebook. And ofcourse as an animal lover I also love to watch silly heartwarming animal videos. However, when I've been sitting on the computer reading articles and watching animal videos for over an hour, completely forgetting about some other work I had intended to do, then I realize that there may be an issue. In the past I would watch all the sad videos of baby animals being torn from their mothers and animal abuse. Although, I learned a lot about the farming industry through watching these videos, it also depressed me tremendously and I had to stop watching these types of videos entirely.
Besides watching sad videos, just reading through my newsfeed and enaging in posts has often had detrimental effects on my mental health. Many times I am not even aware that facebook is the cause of my problems. There have been quite a few times over the years when I suddenly realize that I may need to take a facebook break. At these times I usually decide to take about a week off. The results have always been very positive. Everything just seems to get better. And then for some reason or another, after I've taken my facebook vacation for about a week, I decide it's time to go back on again and engage...until I realize at another time that I need to take a break yet again. But this past week something happened that's made me question whether or not I should ever go back on facebook again.
A lady that I know, and even admire, posted a video about dog and cat food. I decided to engage with her through public posts to figure out what brand of cat good she felt was best. Recently, I had been feeding my cats some food I didn't feel so good about because I was trying to save money. Finances had been tight. I was feeling guilty knowing that my cats deserved much better. Anyway, I ended up going back and forth with this lady discussing cat food and every response she gave me seemed to be negative and condescending. I started to notice that my mood was declining. I even started to have suicidal thoughts and tremendous anger. I finally told this lady that I had enough of the conversation. I knew that she meant well, but her negative responses to my questions were actually doing more harm than good. Once again, I decided to take a facebook break. But then I noticed something quite miraculous. As soon as I told this lady how I felt, ended the conversation and completely disengaged from facebook I felt much better. Beyond better! My entire mood disorder disappeared... by simply disengaging from facebook. No more irritability, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or anger. Even my finances improved! So I'm thinking now may be the time for me to take a permanent facebook vacation!
If you engage in social media and haven't been feeling so great yourself, I suggest taking a vacation. You may find that you feel so good on your temporary vacation, that you decide to take a permanent social media vacation too! Yes, I know, it takes quite a bit of willpower. You may very well have a social media addiction. But believe me, you will find much better and more productive ways to spend your time and your life will improve greatly! I know it may be even more difficult if you use social media for your business. I have a few businesses on facebook. So my suggestion is to get on and off quick. Put up your post and move on. That's my plan for now. I will use my facebook pages to post my articles... and any important business announcements, but that's about it! No more reading articles, no more watching videos and no more engaging! I now see social media for what it truly is... Information Overload!, which can be both overwhelming and taxing to the mind, body and spirit. We are much better off keeping things simple. Simplicity equates to peace in my world.
Jennie Haiman is a Reiki Master Energy Healer, Co-Founder of Self Saviorz Society California Non-Profit 501(c)(3), Poet, Author and Entertainer with goals to help raise the vibration and consciousness of humanity!