How to Calm Negative Feelings Triggered by Social Media

How to Calm Negative Feelings Triggered by Social Media - Insightful Counselling

“Social media websites are no longer performing an envisaged function of creating a positive communication link among friends, family and professionals. It is a veritable battleground, where insults fly from the human quiver, damaging lives, destroying self-esteem and a person’s sense of self-worth.” – Anthony Carmona.

Socializing is important for our well-being as it assists us in making connections with others and creating a sense of community. While it can be challenging to maintain these connections when we are physically apart, social media makes it easier to stay in touch.

In addition to facilitating communication, social media offers benefits such as providing a low-pressure environment for practising social skills, connecting with others who share our interests, and helping us preserve memories. However, it’s important to know that social media also has its downsides.

Many of us have experienced the sensation of losing track of time or feeling unproductive after spending an excessive amount of time scrolling through social media. This passive consumption can also leave us feeling lonely, as we may only be interacting with others virtually. Additionally, constantly comparing ourselves to the seemingly perfect images we see online can lead to feelings of low self-worth. It is important to remember that these images may not necessarily reflect reality.

Excessive use of social media has been connected to a range of negative emotions, including increased feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. While many studies have concentrated on the effect of social media on adolescents (young people), adults can also be affected.

So, how, then, do we put a limit on social media? What are the concerns about social media? How do we protect or safeguard our mental health from the negative feelings associated with social media? Continue reading to learn how to calm the negative feelings triggered by social media.

Social Media and Mental Health

Have you ever found yourself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or watching TikTok videos late into the night, only to regret it the next day when you’re sleep-deprived? Or perhaps you’ve experienced sudden cravings for food or products you saw on various social media platforms? Maybe you’ve even felt the fear of missing out (FOMO) to the point of sacrificing both money and time just to be part of a trending social media craze. It’s undeniable that social media plays a significant role in shaping our thoughts, emotions, and decision-making processes. Unfortunately, it often has detrimental effects on our mental and emotional well-being.

Social media platforms employ various manipulative tactics, from push notifications to targeted ads, to keep users engaged. These tactics aim to maximize platform usage, often at the expense of users’ mental well-being. Numerous studies have established a strong link between excessive social media usage and an increased risk of depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts.

– Impact on Self-Esteem:

Regularly perusing the carefully curated lives of others on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. Comparing our own lives to those portrayed on social media often triggers anxiety and depression. Additionally, constant exposure to idealized images and lifestyles can make us feel insecure about our appearance or the state of our own lives. On the flip side, some individuals rely on social media for validation, basing their self-worth on the reactions and approval of others. This unhealthy dependence on social media can lead to excessive self-centeredness and detachment from real-life connections.

 – Impact on Genuine Connections:

Social media can hinder our ability to establish authentic relationships with others. While we may have hundreds of online “friends,” the emphasis on maintaining a strong social media presence can overshadow the time and effort needed to nurture in-person connections. Human beings require face-to-face interactions for their mental well-being, as nothing beats the stress reduction and mood enhancement achieved through meaningful eye-to-eye contact with someone who genuinely cares. Prioritizing online interactions over in-person relationships increases the risk of developing or exacerbating mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

– Cyberbullying and its Consequences:

Many individuals, including teenagers, have fallen victim to cyberbullying on social media platforms like Twitter. These platforms often become hotspots for spreading hurtful rumors, lies, and abusive content, leaving lasting emotional scars. Open commenting systems can create a hostile environment where cyberbullying victims are subjected to threats, aggressive messages, demoralizing comments, and offensive content, often beyond their control before they can respond. Victims may feel too embarrassed to share their online bullying experiences with friends and family in real life, further exacerbating feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety. Lack of awareness and support can create barriers for victims to seek help, ultimately affecting their mental health.

Signs That Social Media is Impacting Your Mental Health

Signs That Social Media is Impacting Your Mental Health - Insightful Counselling

There’s no set healthy or unhealthy time limit for social media use; it depends on the individual.

Signs that social media might be negatively affecting your mental health include:

  • Neglecting in-person relationships.
  • Social media distractions from work or school.
  • Boredom-driven or negative posts.
  • Feelings of envy, anger, or depression related to social media.
  • Anxiety or fear related to online content.
  • Reduced self-reflection time.
  • Engagement in risky behaviours for online validation.
  • Sleep problems exacerbated by late-night social media use.
  • Worsening symptoms of anxiety or depression due to social media.

When confronted with negative feelings from social media, pause and analyse why you feel this way. Emotional self-awareness, recognizing, understanding, and addressing your emotions, can help you manage these feelings effectively.

Strategies for Parents to Manage Children’s Social Media Use

If your child’s social media use is causing concern, it’s essential to monitor and limit their usage, talk to them about underlying issues, enforce “social media” breaks, teach them about the unrealistic portrayals on social media, and encourage offline activities and interests.

Remember, social media is a tool. Like any tool, its impact depends on how it’s used. With conscious effort and mindfulness, we can manage its negative effects and harness its positives for our mental well-being.

Managing Negative Feelings

Managing Negative Feelings - Insightful Counselling

Here are strategies to calm negative emotions triggered by social media:

– Take a Deep Breath:

Stop what you’re doing and take some deep breaths. It’s OK to feel frustrated, irritated, depressed, anxious, or sad about something you see online.

Deep, slow breathing can be a powerful tool for managing negative thoughts and reducing stress. By focusing on your breath, you can redirect your attention away from negative thoughts and create a sense of calm.

Slowing your breathing also has physiological benefits, such as lowering your blood pressure and heart rate and relaxing your muscles. This relaxed state can help you visualize and embody a feeling of calm, which can help dissipate negative thoughts.

When negative feelings arise, pause and take deep breaths. This simple practice can redirect your focus, reduce stress, and promote calmness.

– Focus on the Positive:

Cultivate positive thinking through self-affirmations and mental imagery. Train your mind to find silver linings in challenging situations.

There are several proven techniques for cultivating positive thinking, such as positive self-talk and positive imagery. These methods involve using affirmations and mental images to concentrate on the good things in life rather than dwelling on negative thoughts and experiences.

By regularly practising these techniques, individuals can train their minds to think more positively and experience the benefits of a more optimistic outlook.

Challenges and obstacles are inevitable, but it’s important to focus on the good things, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem.

By looking for the silver lining in every situation, you can train your mind to think more positively and find opportunities even in difficult circumstances. For example, if someone cancels plans, instead of getting upset, try to focus on the positive aspect, such as the extra time it gives you to do something you enjoy.

By focusing on the good, you can cultivate a more optimistic outlook and approach challenges with a more positive mindset.

– Speak to a Therapist:

It is very important to be truthful and open with your therapist and share your thoughts and feelings without holding back. Even if you feel embarrassed or shy about certain things, discussing them with your therapist is important. By withholding information, you may be hindering your own recovery and not getting the full benefit of therapy.

Remember, your therapist is there to help you and can only do so if you are completely open and honest with them. So be sure to speak openly and freely, and don’t be afraid to share your true thoughts and feelings.

Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if negative feelings persist. Be open and honest with your therapist to maximize the benefits of therapy.

Modifying Social Media Use

Reducing social media use can significantly improve mental health. Small changes in your social media habits can also have positive effects:

– Use apps to track daily social media usage and set usage goals.

– Turn off your phone during specific activities or times of day to avoid distractions.

– Keep your phone away from the bedroom to improve sleep quality.

– Disable social media notifications to stay focused.

– Gradually increase intervals between checking your phone.

– Remove social media apps from your phone, starting with the least essential ones.

Finding Positivity on Social Media

Social Media Use to Improve Mental Health - Insightful Counselling

Harness the positive aspects of social media:

– Avoid scrolling right after waking up or before bedtime.

– Develop mindful habits like journaling, gratitude, or meditation.

– Consider using social media on devices other than your phone.

– Curate your social media feed with accounts that make you feel good.

– Prioritize real-life friends and community leaders in your follow list.

By implementing these strategies and being mindful of your social media usage, you can better manage negative feelings and protect your mental health in the digital age.


Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Related Posts

Leave a comment

Book An Appointment