Social media is almost unavoidable in 2013. Let’s take a look at how we can use it for mental HEALTH instead of anguish. There is an analogy that everyone has a good and a bad dog within them (although I dislike the judgments there). This is similar to the angel/devil on your shoulder analogy…however take a moment to consider which dog you feed more often? If they are your pets, which one do you spend more time nurturing?
Social media can be used for both. You can subscribe to blogs that fixate on negativity, make you feel worse, join in your pity party, etc…or you can subscribe to those that are POSITIVE!
There are two types of social media sites. Those that will remove negative and inappropriate posts and those that don’t. Pinterest, LinkedIn, Youtube, and Facebook all permit users to report inappropriate content and will remove those posts*. Tumblr, ask.fm, Instagram and twitter do not*. This is not to say that the later group of sites are BAD; however they have more risk. If you struggle with impulsivity and self discipline, these may not be the sites for you.
On all networking sites, the users and topics that you search, subscribe to, and follow are up to you. Try following inspiration, funny pictures, cute animals, users that make a point of being encouraging, and/or appropriate family members. There is even a sub-network called “Fitspo” which is a type of posts that are fitness inspiration, these would be an example of something great to follow. Some sites even give you the option of “blocking” other users or “hiding” them so you don’t have to worry about hurting their feelings. A big NO-NO here is following triggering topics, users that bring you down, encourage behavior you are trying to stop doing, or highly judgmental users, and topics that normalize behavior you don’t want to continue. If a user or topic makes your conscious put up a red flag or if it’s something you feel ashamed to follow…REMOVE It!!
*these statements are made after my own investigation and use of each site. This may or may not be the policy of each website and/or app.