This blog is one of a series of blogs prepared for World Mental Health Day written by young Jews about their experiences dealing with poor mental health.
People say that social media is bad for your mental health. I don’t think any of us realise what to extent.
I find myself reflecting on my use of Social Media often. Why do I feel the need to scroll mindlessly until all hours of the morning? Why do I care what someone I haven’t spoken to in ten years is having for dinner? Why does your Snapchat filter matter so much to me? Why does it matter to you?
I came to a simple conclusion: Facebook makes me sad. Yes, my anxiety and other emotional and external factors may contribute to this sadness, but the simple (yet constant) engagement with Facebook can make me pretty down in the dumps. A life spent on Facebook is a life full of relentless comparison and judgement.
She is prettier than me. She is richer than me. Her boyfriend is ugly. Her baby has a weird face.
And on a deeper and more personal level:
Why am I so ugly? Why don’t I have money to spend on beach holidays? Why don’t I have a boyfriend? What if I never have a baby?
Imagine indulging in such negative sentiments on a constant basis. Imagine what that does for your self-esteem. Can you even measure the damage you are causing to your emotional well-being?
Next time you’re scrolling around aimlessly, reflect on the thoughts you’re having. Are they positive thoughts? Are you imagining what compliments you’d give to your neighbour’s freshly baked cookies? Or are they negative thoughts?
NOBODY GIVES A DAMN ABOUT YOUR DAMN BAKING, THIS IS THE THIRD TREAT RELATED POST YOU’VE DONE THIS WEEK! ENOUGH ALREADY!
I was discussing this with my best friend, and she gave me some pretty solid advice which I’d like to pass on to you:
Unfollow the people who annoy you. Unfollow the people who post 100 selfies a day and cause you endless grief. Unfollow the people you met on holiday in 2007 and never spoke to again. Unfollow the people you’d consciously avoid if you walked past them in the street.
I understand there is an element of FOMO (fear of missing out) when you unfollow people. After I was given this advice, I unfollowed over 100 people on the first day. And I PROMISE you, I do not feel like I’m missing out on a single thing. (Truthfully, I am not sure you can miss out on something you didn’t even care about in the first place)
You may feel unable to resist the constant urge to check your feed, but you’re in control of what you see. You’re in control of who and what you follow. You’re in control of your own engagement.
Facebook still makes me sad. But, less so these days.
Shayne, 26, recently made aliyah from South Africa. She has a BA in Film Studies and Screenwriting from the University of Cape Town and Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management from Wits Business School.
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