Does social media make you feel anxious or depressed? Do you feel trapped by your various social media accounts, but also unable to stop scrolling?

If you plan on staying online, you need to learn how to use social media in a positive way. It’s not as easy as “positivity influencers” make it look!

We’re here to offer you some advice on how to use social media effectively. Read on to learn more.

Choose Who You Follow

One of the best things that you can do when it comes to figuring out how to use social media effectively is to be more particular about who you choose to follow.

Too many social media newbies get hung up on the Explore page and popular influencers. They may follow anyone who looks cool, anyone who’s popular, celebrities, and even anyone who chooses to follow their own accounts.

You’ll discover that, by being more selective about who you follow, you’ll feel a lot better about the content that you’re seeing and your overall social media experience.

Here are a few examples of what to follow (and what not to follow).

Follow Healthy Content

Many people love following healthy and mindful content on apps like Instagram and TikTok. These accounts break down mental and physical health concepts in easy-to-digest ways and guides (here’s a guide to Instagram guides for more info).

There’s an account for every type of health. Whether you’re trying to get into a new sport, you’re working on flexibility, you’re managing a chronic illness, or you’re trying to improve your mindfulness and mental health, these accounts will work for you.

In other words, you want to follow accounts that can help you grow as a person, instead of accounts that will drag you down and make you anxious.

Follow Friends and Loved Ones

It’s also a great idea to follow people that make you happy, like friends and loved ones. Don’t go around following everyone you’ve ever met unless you’re using social media to network, but your friends and loved ones will improve your feed.

You want to see all of the nice things that your friends are doing and making. Isn’t that more important than seeing what a celebrity or influencer is doing? You don’t even know them!

Remember, social media is supposed to be social. Why follow people that you wouldn’t ever want to socialize with in real life?

Follow Hobbies and Passions

When you’re looking for less personalized things and people to follow, look to your passions for inspiration. There are online communities for every hobby, career, and passion!

Are you an artist? Follow a variety of other artists online to get some inspiration! If you love jewelry, follow a variety of jewelry makers.

The internet is full of authors, athletes, crafters, and more. Regardless of what you’re interested in, there’s a community of other people who want to share that with you.

Unfollow Accounts That Make You Feel Insecure

One of the worst things about social media is that it can cause insecurity, anxiety, and even depression among people who use it. Many people struggle with unhealthy relationships with social media platforms. They develop parasocial relationships and suffer from the struggles of comparison.

Are you following accounts that make you feel insecure?

If you follow people with your “dream bodies,” “dream relationships,” “dream jobs,” and so on, consider either muting them for the time being or finally pressing that “unfollow” button once and for all (or at least until you’re in a better state of mind).

It’s tempting to follow beautiful and successful people, and you might find them inspirational. If they’re doing you more harm than good, though, it’s time to let them go.

Ignore FOMO

Do you experience FOMO? FOMO is the “fear of missing out,” and it’s something that social media has exacerbated. Many people are discovering that they have a lot of anxiety about the things that they’re not doing because they see so many other people doing them.

Are the people that you follow buying new houses? Graduating from school? Getting great new jobs?

That’s awesome for them! But your life path is different. There’s no one exact timeline for success and progress, but your inner FOMO doesn’t allow you to internalize that.

Instead of scrolling mindlessly thinking “why isn’t that me?”, think of all of the things that you can do and that you’re accomplishing.

Disconnect From Time to Time

If you want to be able to use social media in a healthy way, the key is knowing when you have to consider disconnecting. Constant social media use isn’t healthy, and it might be causing you to further isolate yourself instead of allowing you to stay connected.

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Do you feel like social media is getting in the way of your real life and responsibilities? Do you feel like it’s making you anxious or taking up too much of your mental energy?

Disconnect. Log out and even consider deactivating your accounts. Turn off all of your notifications and let yourself step away from the apps.

This is going to seem extreme to someone who’s already too entrenched in social media culture. That said, it’s one of the best things that you can do for your mental health if you struggle with social media anxiety or even internet addiction.

When you disconnect, try to do some things that you enjoy. Get outside, hang out with friends in the real world, and make some memories (that aren’t for social media likes).

Remember, not everything needs to be posted online. Enjoy your life without feeling constrained to what looks good on a social media post.

Consider Going Private

If you’re running a personal account and not a business account, it might benefit you to go private (even if it’s temporary privacy).

So why bother?

Too many people get overwhelmed by the idea that other people are looking at what they post. This may limit their posts or cause them to post things that should likely remain private.

When you only let friends and family members see your account, you might feel more relaxed about the things that you do and post online.

This doesn’t have to be permanent. Going private is a great alternative to completely shutting down your account, especially if you use it for networking purposes or it’s your primary way of communicating with international friends.

If you don’t want to make your main account private, consider setting up a second private account where you post your personal or “less polished” photos. This may help you relax more about your posting habits, and it creates a great place to store memories that you don’t feel like showing off to the world.

Ignore Likes and Follows

Do you get hung up on the engagement that your posts get? That’s common. Many people spend too much time agonizing over every last like, comment, and follow that they get on their account. This isn’t healthy.

When we get this kind of engagement, it causes a dopamine release in our brains. This makes this engagement addictive. You’ll post more and more content. Trying to get these likes and comments, and not getting them may make you feel like you’re doing something wrong.

If your livelihood doesn’t depend on your social media posts, consider turning off notifications so that your likes, comments, and follows aren’t as obvious to you. You don’t need to see them if you’re not seriously tracking engagement for business purposes.

If you post something that people don’t like, don’t worry about it. It isn’t for them. It’s for you.

Remember The Reality

Social media, especially on a large scale with celebrities and influencers, doesn’t mirror reality all the time. People are only showing off the best and brightest parts of their lives. Even “authentic” social media posts tend to be veiled in some form of positivity or be “prettier” than real life.

Always remember that everyone has ups and downs, even the people that you’re following online. Of course, someone will be happier to show off their achievements than their mistakes!

When you keep this in mind, you’ll have an easier time forming a healthy relationship with social media.

That’s How to Use Social Media (The Positive Way)

If you want to be part of the online ecosystem, social media is a must-have in 2021. If you must use it, make sure that you know how to use social media in a way that isn’t harmful to your mental health.

Make sure that you’re able to disconnect from the things that cause you anxiety, and try to follow accounts that make you feel happy and inspired. You control your relationship with social media!

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