Social media is a wonderful thing when used in the right ways. It can help us connect to others across the globe, join in groups or clubs that encourage our goals, and be a force we use to bring about change. Unfortunately, there’s always a yin to the yang in life. Knowing how to deal with the bad stuff is key to keeping your mental health in check while using social media.
Social Media Triggers
I often complain about social media, especially Facebook. Most people find it humorous that my paying job is that of a Social Media Admin. I literally read articles, comment back to people, and schedule posts to attract customers to the business I work for. While most things I do for work remain pretty low-key, I’ve seen other companies struggle with bad reviews, trolling in the comments section, and outright rudeness. Some people just like to criticize and be rude and give off negative energy. They probably need a hug, but instead of getting help, they turn to the online world to push forward their own message: one of negativity and anger at whatever is bugging them in the universe.
I’ll be honest. I’ve probably done things in the past that would define me as a “troll”. Sometimes it’s easy to latch on to an idea and when others don’t agree, to angrily make my point. It’s not that it’s bad to be passionate about something, but isn’t healthy to go looking for a fight. This is who I’m referring to in my writing today. Those people who just hate everything and want other people to get sucked in to their anger and vitriol.
Before I move ahead on this, I want to remind you that if you are feeling sad, upset, crabby, or otherwise, seeking out attention on social media is probably not your best solution. Instead, find a friend to talk to, journal your feelings, or go for a walk. We can all be guilty of saying too much and giving off negativity to others which in turn causes them to feel bad too. (I’m not saying you should never talk about negative stuff. I’m just saying putting up constant posts and negative feedback will probably effect others. Just be careful and mindful of how you are communicating. Asking for help is fine. Looking for a fight isn’t.)
Ok, let’s move ahead.
Permission to Walk Away
It’s hard for me to say if these people are outright nasty and trying to deplete me of energy, but it sure feels that way. Any act of trying to explain yourself turns into more fuel for the fight. This is a red flag to walk away.
Do you ever get sucked into conversations and then find yourself upset, down, or sad for hours afterwards? You’ve probably been sucked into some unnecessary online drama which can destroy your sense of well-being. If you found yourself getting angry and being defensive, this is another sign that it wasn’t a healthy conversation. Here is something I want you to repeat to yourself often:
I DON’T OWE ANYONE MY SERENITY
I actually stole that from Shavon Evelyn who wrote this article–but I repeat it to myself so often, it’s become a mantra for me. You don’t owe anyone anything. Ever. And you especially don’t owe them your sense of peace. So give yourself permission to walk away from anyone that makes you feel unhappy, sad, or just plain yucky. Feel free to delete, block, hide, and purge those people who attack you or just generally make your mood go from positive to negative in a short amount of time.
I believe Facebook makes people more unlikable. Not only do you end up seeing posts about everything they do, but then there’s bragging and posting of opinions. It is too much for me. Because I know almost everyone annoys me on Facebook, I will hide people who constantly brag or post too many political posts. More recently, I deleted the app entirely from my phone. I don’t even visit it unless I’m on my laptop which makes my visits a lot less. Many times I don’t even look at my feed at all. I go to the group pages that I like and then leave. This has been extremely helpful to my sense of self.
Why is this important?
Getting sucked into someone’s negativity once or twice is enough to leave us introverts feeling crabby. If it happens over and over again, as it does on social media, we can become negative ourselves. This pattern of being sucked in to someone else’s bad day is extremely toxic. Sometimes we don’t even know why we are cranky and impatient. If you find this is true of yourself, try unplugging your phone for the day and staying off social media. If you felt less moody, then maybe you need to focus on how you’re engaging on social media, your blog, or through email. What are these “emotional vampires” that are stealing your energy and joy?
Other Things to Watch Out For
- TV Shows or Movies that upset you
- Text Messaging friends or loved ones with constant drama or bragging
- Negative email exchanges
- Mindlessly reading what everyone is posting & their comments
- Extremely negative blog posts and comments
- Your own off-the-wall reactions to posts that trigger you
The key to all these things is to ask yourself, how do I feel after being exposed to this stimuli? Am I drained and burned out or do I feel uplifted? You know what to do if the answer is that you are drained. The best thing you can do is to withdraw, rest, and find something to reset your mood. Awareness of how you feel is extremely important. Once you recognize this, you’ll be able to walk away, set boundaries for the future, and move forward with .
What have you found helpful for protecting yourself emotionally on social media and blogging?