Friday, December 23, 2016

Stay Positive this Holiday Season: Stop Lurking!

A photo of someone scrolling through Facebook on a mobile device.
Photo credit: Bloomicon / Shutterstock
Holidays got you down? If you’ve found yourself spending hours scrolling through the endless feeds of Facebook and Twitter, social media could be one culprit behind your misery.

The BBC reports that a new University of Copenhagen suggests that seeing an abundance of “perfect” families, faces, and holiday festivities could trigger envy and feelings of isolation. It makes sense that when you’re feeling low and alone, seeing so much togetherness from a distance could make you feel even worse.

The study, which had more than 1,000 participants, particularly noted this effect when users are “lurking” on social media – simply taking all the information in without interacting or connecting with anyone.

The conclusion? “[R]egular use of social networking such as Facebook can negatively affect your emotional well-being and satisfaction with life.”

But these days, everyone is so plugged into social media that not partaking at all might also make people feel isolated. The researchers suggest some simple solutions: being more of an “active” user and engaging with others; and unplugging from social media when possible.

In fact, the study suggests that actively engaging with others will create a much more positive experience for users; so, if you’re not ready to take a break, consider changing your usage habits instead.

If limiting your time on social media seems like the best solution, consider taking an entire week off. Alternatively, try uninstalling social media apps from your phone and only checking Facebook once per day for a limited period. Not only could this help your mood, but it also might help you be more productive and less distracted at work or school!

It’s also important to note that many social media users tend to share only their happiest moments, best pictures, and envy-inducing events. Comparing your everyday life with someone else’s top highlights is an unrealistic comparison to make—it’s enough to make anyone envious! Remember that no one’s life is quite the same as it looks on the outside.

Have you ever experienced the “deterioration of mood” that this new study suggests? What have you found to be the best solution?