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6 Ways Social Media Can Boost Your Mental Health

If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to revert to scrolling through Instagram whenever you have a free minute. One Google search about the effects of social media on mental health will lead to a slew of articles blaming social media as the end-all vice to many of our problems. When social media is used in excess, these articles are very much true. However, I think being in a culture where many of the interactions, from friends to co-workers to even small businesses you support, are based on some social medium, if we can find a way to leverage the time we spend on socials to benefit us, it’d be a much better world. So here are 6 ways social media can be used to improve your mood and mental health:

Curate Your Feed To Include Content That Makes You Feel Good

Did you know that curating your feed on social media can actually give you a better experience? For example, try taking some time to figure out what are 10 things you actually enjoy looking at on Instagram. Three big ones for me are cat videos, food videos and inspirational posts. As a result, out of the hundreds of accounts I follow, a good portion is related to my actual interests. I’ve also realized that I often have a lot of random accounts whose content doesn’t serve me anymore, so I’ve just unfollowed them! Feels a bit like the Marie Kondo method for Instagram, but give it a shot and you’ll notice a lot more satisfaction when scrolling.

Try to Positively Engage with Pages and Followers You Would Support In Real Life

Believe it or not, social media can be a great tool to bring out the inner optimist and hype-person inside of you (and I know each and every one of you has one). So go ahead, leave a sweet comment under the page of your favorite bakery or tell your acquaintance that her food blog pictures from last Saturday are awesome! Who knew giving compliments feels as good as getting them?

Create a Space for Your Passions

This one might take a bit more upfront work, but it is totally worth it for your next Instagram-inspired food blog or niche Twitter page. The great thing about this is that you can use social media to your advantage with a set goal in mind, which is great for breaking that cycle of constant mindless scrolling. So next time you feel yourself wishing you had an Instagram as cool as your favorite bloggers, feel free to jump on the train!

Make the Algorithms Work for You!

Believe it or not, all of our socials these days (even something like Pinterest) use a very complicated machine learning program to guess the type of things we’re interested in and recommend even more to us! Now, this can definitely lead to some unintended consequences (think doom-scrolling), but who says it can’t be used to curate our experience to become something we enjoy? With a little bit of conscious thinking about the content that makes us feel good, anybody can hack the system.

Active Engagement Supersedes Passive Participation

Studies show that active, mindful participation may help break the unconscious cycle of reverting back to our comfort zones. So next time you find yourself guilt scrolling, think: “Is there a way for me to be more active and feel better about this activity?”

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Create a Pod with Your Friends to Maintain Privacy

This is one feature of Twitter that I absolutely love. One of the big reasons why social media can cause anxiety among people our age is the uncertainty with which far acquaintances react to our content and “perceive” us, so to say. Having a private pod, locked account or a space to just goof off and have fun with your friends is a great way to improve your social experience and also help mitigate loneliness when you’re not around your friends!

Next time you find yourself guilt scrolling, feel free to come back to this article for great ways to make your social media experiences a mood booster to your day!

Somashree is a 3rd year Economics major minoring in Environmental Systems and Society and Digital Humanities. She's a huge cinephile with a special affinity for historical dramas (eg. The Crown or Bridgerton). She also loves learning languages and hopes to learn at least 4 languages by the end of the decade.
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