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In our digitally entwined existence, social media offers immense opportunities for communication and connection. Yet, along with its benefits, it brings its fair share of stressors. For some, it can feel like a trip to the dopamine casino that results in a comparison hangover and time lost.

As Arianna Huffington writes in her book Thrive, “the ever-increasing creep of technology—into our lives, our families, our bedrooms, our brains—make it much harder to renew ourselves.” Part 2 of our series on digital wellness explores strategies for building resilience and coping with social media stress.

Recognizing Social Media Stressors

Before we can tackle social media stress, it’s crucial to identify the common stressors that often lurk in our online experiences:

  • Comparison: Social media can lead to constant comparisons with others, potentially eroding our self-esteem.
  • Online Harassment: Negative interactions and cyberbullying can have severe emotional consequences.
  • Information Overload: The overwhelming influx of information can lead to anxiety and a feeling of being constantly “plugged in.”

So how do we prevent comparison hangovers and other stressors? What follows are ways that we can take control of our online experiences!  

Training Algorithms for Positivity

In the digital realm, algorithms learn from our behavior. By engaging with positive content, we can train them to send more of the good stuff our way:

  • Like, Share, and Follow Wisely: Engage thoughtfully with uplifting, informative, or inspiring posts. Give them a thumbs up, share them, and follow accounts that consistently provide valuable content.
  • Interact with Purpose: Algorithms track what we comment on and share. We can use this to our advantage by leaving meaningful comments that contribute to constructive discussions.
  • Unfollow Negativity*: Declutter our digital space by unfollowing or muting accounts that consistently share negative or unhelpful content.
    *While we want to avoid clickbait negativity driven by sensationalism, it’s important to acknowledge that constructive criticism and thoughtful dissent can serve as catalysts for personal growth.
  • Diversify Your Feed: Seek out diverse perspectives and voices to enrich our digital experience.

Digital Detox Strategies

Occasionally disconnecting from social media can be a powerful way to alleviate stress. Consider these strategies:

  • Limit Screen Time: Set daily limits for our social media usage to avoid overexposure.
  • Take Short Breaks: Incorporate short digital breaks throughout the day to recharge and refocus.
  • Digital Sabbaticals: Plan longer periods of digital detox where we step away from social media entirely.

Mindful Social Media Engagement

To build resilience, it’s essential to approach social media mindfully:

  • Set Boundaries: Define clear boundaries for our online interactions. Determine when and for how long we will engage with social media.
  • Selective Content Consumption: Instead of scrolling aimlessly, we can be selective. Prioritize posts and articles that align with our interests and values. This approach ensures our online engagement remains purposeful, reduces exposure to irrelevant or negative content, and enhances our digital well-being.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Reward ourselves for mindful engagement. Acknowledge our achievements in setting and maintaining boundaries.

Online Community and Support

One of the remarkable aspects of social media is its potential for creating supportive communities:

  • Seek Supportive Spaces: Join online groups and communities that align with our interests and values. These spaces can provide valuable emotional support.
  • Share Your Experiences: Don’t hesitate to share our own struggles with social media stress. Our openness can inspire others to seek help and support.
  • Digital Connections: Leverage our online connections for support and encouragement during challenging times.

In this exploration of digital resilience and coping with social media stress, we’ve uncovered strategies to navigate the sometimes tumultuous online landscape. Recognizing the stressors that lurk behind the screen, we’ve armed ourselves with techniques to build resilience and embrace digital detox when needed. We’ve also learned how our interactions with online content can shape the digital world around us, making it a more enriching space.

As we move forward in our digital wellness journey, here’s your call to action:

  1. Reflect: Take a moment to reflect on your own experiences with social media stress. Have you encountered these stressors, and if so, how have they affected your well-being?
  2. Empower Yourself: Implement the strategies we’ve discussed, from mindful engagement to digital detox. These tools are your armor in the digital realm, helping you build resilience and maintain balance.
  3. Stay Tuned: Join us in Part 3, where we’ll delve into the positive potential of social media. Discover how we can harness its transformative power to make a positive impact on our life and the world around us.

Thank you for embarking on this journey to find harmony and well-being in the digital age. As you take these steps, remember that you have the power to shape your online experience and create a space that uplifts and inspires.

With Gratitude,
Lainie

Also in this series:

Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Author(s)

  • Lainie Rowell

    Bestselling Author, Award-Winning Educator, TEDx Speaker

    Lainie Rowell is a bestselling author, award-winning educator, and TEDx speaker. She is dedicated to human flourishing focusing on community building, social emotional learning, and honoring what makes each of us unique and dynamic through learner-driven design.

    She earned her degree in psychology and went on to earn postgraduate degrees in education. An international keynote speaker, Lainie has presented in 41 states as well as in dozens of countries across 4 continents. As a consultant, Lainie’s client list ranges from Fortune 100 companies like Apple and Google to school districts and independent schools.

    Lainie is the author of Evolving with Gratitude, the lead author of Evolving Learner, and a contributing-author of Because of a TeacherHer latest, Bold Gratitude: The Journal Designed for You & By You, is an innovative and interactive gratitude journal that empowers individuals of all ages to embrace their unique preferences and express gratitude in their own way. Learn more at lainierowell.com.