Surviving your Newsfeed
We’ve all experienced it. You’re scrolling on Instagram and you see a controversial post from a friend that surprises you. You’ve become curious and scrolled through the comments. It shocks you to see the strong opinions that others are sharing. Perhaps you’ve even taken part in the back and forth arguments via comments on social media. Maybe you’ve even unfriended or unfollowed a person due to the controversial views they have expressed.
Problem is- all these opinions on social media- influence us and effect our emotional well-being. We are living in a time people will voice their opinions much stronger on the internet than they would say in person. The anonymity sitting behind a screen emboldens individual to share their opinions. Additionally, the current algorithms on popular social media platforms reward posts with increased engagement.
The presidential election is around the corner and opinions will be prominent on social media. It was the last presidential election in which “fake news” and politically charged advertisements were placed on Facebook to sway voters. We need a strong arsenal of emotional armor to tackle the contagious effect of negativity through social media.
8 ways to deal with negativity
The back and forth battles on comments is not productive. Accept the individual’s post and view as they are without trying to change them. This will cause discomfort for you because you will not be able to change their mind in that moment. Recognize the discomfort and soothe yourself to cope by reminding yourself your efforts are likely futile. It’s important to temper your expectations about the person’s ability and openness to change.
Minimize the contact you have with negative sources on social media
Studies have shown that individuals who are exposed to negative emotions and rhetoric in their newsfeed are more likely to report negative emotions and increased levels of stress. Review your friends and accounts that you follow. If they are not uplifting, analytical or realistic unfollow. Not everything on your feed needs to be hunky dory but minimizing strong unrealistic rhetoric will help protect your emotional well-being.
Limit your time on social media to less than 30 minutes a day. It can be tempting to hop on your feed and scroll when you’re waiting in line at the store or waiting for a friend. Try to resist this. Also, refrain from scrolling social media while laying in bed. The constant stream of new information translates messages to your brain to stay awake. It will interfere with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Watch for triggers
There is an issue that you feel strongly about and will likely experience strong emotions when you encounter a person with different views. Remind yourself that you can be kind and get along with people who have different views from you. Notice your internal emotional state and mindfully choose to engage in a thought process or behavior that will calm you down.
Refrain from engaging in social media or blogging battles
It can be very tempting to voice your own opinion to the forum of your followers. However this can incite battles that can lead to disappointment and anxiety. Additionally, refrain from commenting on a controversial post.
Remind yourself- it’s not about you
Encountering a differing opinion on your newsfeed can feel like a personal affront to your beliefs. Remind yourself that the person who composed the post was not taking your views into consideration. They choose to express their thought and opinions for attention.
Above all, if social media because too distressing simply disconnect. Social media is a form of entertainment. It has nothing to do with your value as a person or your likeability. You are a person deserving of love and worthy of happiness. Self-esteem is difficult to nurture in a world of likes, comments and follows. Let LMV Counseling help you to discover your true worth and value.