How To Have A Healthy Relationship With Facebook

As part of a project for a new book I was writing, I decided to take a month off from social media — especially Facebook.

Let me point out that I was a Facebook addict, racing to check my newsfeed every five minutes, posting photos of my dinner and telling everyone what a wonderful life I was having via updates. But Facebook also created anxiety and stress.

I’d worry if that I was posted wasn’t interesting enough, or I’d get depressed when the stats fell into the red on my book pages. Worst of all, I would get angry at people I didn’t really know or like about the stupid things they were posting.

Eventually, Facebook became a frustrating clutter of cat memes, baby photos, political rants, some charity demanding I feel guilty for not sharing a photo of a sick child, online petitions about causes I didn’t care about, supposedly funny, fake videos that claimed to be ‘real footage’ of alien beings or sensationalist stories that were only designed to get more likes on someone’s page but didn’t really offer any substance. I had had enough and it was making me cranky.

After my one-month detox, the difference in how I felt was amazing. Though I’m back on Facebook now, I’m doing it VERY differently.

Here’s my advice on how you can take your life back from the social media monster:

  • If you want to stay “friends” with someone but can’t stand the amount of whining or complaining they do, simply “unfollow” them. I’ve unfollowed lots of people and my newsfeed is now lighter and more pleasant.
  • Facebook presents a reality that isn’t actually real, so don’t stress about FOMO (fear of missing out). People will always post photos of their tropical holiday, cocktails and large plates of food, but what you don’t see are the angry outbursts at their partner, moments of depression, bad breath in the morning, etc.
  • Make sure your newsfeed inspires and uplifts you, leaving you feeling good about the world.
  • “Unlike” any pages that don’t inspire or challenge you in a positive way.
  • When you find that your news feed isn’t as cluttered, you naturally spend less time on your computer/phone/tablet, and more time in reality enjoying what’s around you. You may be more inspired to draw, write, paint, garden, hug your partner or just rest.
  • When you do feel pangs of jealousy or rage at someone’s post, use it as a way to look inside yourself. Why did you react so badly? Is something else going on in your life that would trigger a reaction like that?
  • Don’t be afraid to take charge of your social media — you’re in control here. It’s your life and your happiness.

When I feel the urge to check Facebook too often, I ask myself, Are the answers to life found there? The answer is always no, and I then go sit in the garden where the answers to life are much closer.

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