New Year’s Resolution: Spending Less Time on Facebook 

Tell the truth – how many times do you log onto Facebook each day? Do you scroll through your Facebook’s newsfeed whenever you’re just a little bit bored? You’re not the only one – the average Facebook user in the United States logged seven hours and 46 minutes on the social media site per month.  Maybe this year, instead of spending excessive time on Facebook, you instead make a resolution to work out, volunteer, read a book, or call or visit someone you love – what could you do with that time?

Facebook and Mental Health

Facebook and mental healthWhile Facebook can be a great medium for staying in touch with family and friends, Facebook can also contribute to feelings of loneliness, depression, anger, low self-esteem, and even envy.  Several psychological studies have found that one in three people feels worse after spending time on Facebook. And the more time a person spends just browsing Facebook instead of being actively engaged and creating their own content, the worse they felt. This can be attributed to the well-known social psychology occurrence of social comparison.

Let’s assume that your status update announcing yourself as newly engaged receives fewer “likes” than your friend’s update about her new pet or maybe your friend received more birthday greetings than you did. Or maybe your Facebook friends appear to have the perfect life, posting beautiful, flattering pictures of themselves and status updates of their amazing vacations, their gorgeous children, exciting careers and loving relationships. Perhaps this begins to trigger an irritating sense of negativity that leads to resentment of others and begins to affect your self-worth. What most people don’t realize is that Facebook timelines typically depict snapshots of the very best moments of people’s lives as well as the most attractive pictures of themselves. Keep in mind that very few people share their trials and tribulations or bad pictures. Your friends are presenting an illusionary world of happiness that just isn’t the case.

Psychologists have found that many individuals begin to believe they are inadequate when compared to their friends after spending time on Facebook and many will deactivate or delete their accounts because they become so upset by other people’s Facebook content. A healthier choice might be to practice self-acceptance. Instead of comparing yourself negatively to others, bear in mind that while your experiences may be different from those of your friends, it doesn’t mean you are more or less worthy than your friends, it only means that each of you is a complex human being, living a life that is much more complex than is depicted on a Facebook timeline.

Is 2015 your year to develop more effective functioning so you can keep what is or isn’t happening on Facebook in perspective and remember that many who live the richest, most meaningful lives spend very little time focusing on what everyone else might be thinking of them.

Instead of keeping away from Facebook altogether or continuously posting status updates and pictures – make an effort to use Facebook more judiciously and instead connect with family and friends in meaningful ways both on and off line.

 

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