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  • 7 Ways to Reduce Your Stress On Social Media

    social media selfie

    Most of us have a love/hate relationship with social media. We love feeling connected to people when we’re alone &/or bored, yet we hate the drama, the game requests, the click bait, and the fear of missing something if we actually take a break from it for a few hours to do our work or pay attention to the real, live people we’re hanging out with.

    The problem is, social media’s not a true connection. No one can see your face, hear the tone of your voice, or watch your body language for signs that will allow them to interpret HOW you mean the things you type. Without these clues, empathy naturally decreases. That’s one of the reasons that people over post and over share, and why they seemingly have no clue whatsoever that most of their friends and followers have no interest in playing CandyFarmCrushVille with them.

    Let Me Get Right to the Point

    Here are 7 things guaranteed to lower your stress on social media:

    1. Don’t treat social media as a sympathy ATM. We all know someone who posts almost daily about some ache, pain, digestive complaint, or negative scenario that they’re currently experiencing. An occasional vent is fine, but the more often you make negative posts, the less people will react with “awwwww, poor thing. How can I help?”  Compassion fatigue sets in and people will stop commenting on how they hope you feel better/things get better soon, and instead will just keep scrolling because they feel utterly helpless and no longer know what to do or say.
    2. If you need something, ask. Don’t make vague posts and expect people to somehow magically know what you need. Too many people vaguebook these days, and it’s too hard and too tiring to try to tell who’s just venting (and simply not naming names or not airing too much of their dirty laundry) and who may actually need something. When faced with deciding which it is, most people just keep on scrolling and you’re left feeling like no one cares. On a similar note, don’t drop huge bombshells in weirdly inappropriate places. Provoking a wtf reaction by commenting on a funny post that you were just diagnosed with terminal cancer  or are on the verge of homelessness isn’t likely to get you the support you need.
    3. Focus on what you support instead of what you oppose. Seriously. The more you post about the things that stress you out, the more they’ll stress you out. So… instead of posting negative things about an issue that riles you up or the candidate you feel has the intelligence, ethics, or personality of a wart, why not post the good things about the issue or candidate you DO like and support. At the very least, if you’re going to post about those things you oppose, provide a positive action that people can take to resolve the issue or suggest a better candidate. Besides, your grandma was right: you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
    4. Get comfortable NOT responding to vaguebooking and click bait. If you feel you MUST respond to a vaguebook, try commenting with just a sad or frowny face emoticon &/or “I don’t know what to say.” As for click bait, just don’t click. It may help to remember that most viruses on social media are caused by click bait, and ain’t no one got time for that kind of stress.
    5. Learn to use the “see less from” feature and become well acquainted with the unfriend and unfollow buttons. It’s not rude to not subject yourself to a slew of racist, religionist, or misogynistic posts by some neanderthal you knew in high school or work with now. I consider it to be self-care to not risk stroking out every time you peruse your Facebook or Twitter feed.
    6. Don’t try to convert people to your point of view. By all means express yourself in your posts, but don’t expect people to magically begin agreeing with you just because you feel you made a good point. Likewise, remember that another person’s post is just that… Their post. Don’t hijack it by starting a fight. Respectfully disagree if they’re the type of person that you KNOW (beyond a shadow of a doubt) enjoys engaging in debate, but don’t go starting fights and creating drama on someone else’s post. Likewise, don’t let someone else start a fight on your page. If they hijack one of your posts, simply respond with “Well, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this” or don’t respond at all. Remember: If they won’t be able to change your mind about an issue, you won’t be able to change their mind, either. Your mom was right: You have to pick your battles. (And a social media post is never worthy of a battle.)
    7. Spend less time on social media. Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done, but it’s definitely worth doing. Start small, by putting your phone away when you’re eating meals and using the bathroom. Work your way up to leaving it in your pocket or purse when you’re hanging out with friends or family. (Please don’t make me tell you to NOT be on social media while you’re on the clock at work.) With a little practice you’ll find that interacting with real people in real time is much more enjoyable than spending time online.

    It’s not rocket science, and some of it’s even common sense. But it’s easy to lose sight of common sense when we’re online since there’s so little of it demonstrated there. So, consider this your reminder. Here’s to some stress-free social media time!

    Feel free to share this across all your social media channels. Let’s make the online world of social media a less stressful place.