How to Overcome Social Media Depression
It’s a Friday night and you’re sitting at home scrolling through your social media feeds. Everyone is posting comments and pics of what they’re doing while you’re alone, in your sweats, feeling jealous. You go to bed thinking about everything you’re missing and how everyone must have a better life then you. Saturday morning rolls around and now you’re stuck in a deep depression because you feel like your life is pointless.
Middle school and high school culture is ingrained in comparison. People have been comparing themselves for years. People analyze their lives with everyone else’s as a means of protection. They need to make sure they are where they’re supposed to be. This social comparison usually leaves people feeling happy and satisfied with their lives.
This is not the case with Social Media interaction. People tend to feel depressed when comparing themselves online. Social Media comparison has a negative effect on one’s emotional well-being. It’s a vicious cycle. Too much social comparison makes people depressed, which leads to more comparison. The more depressed someone becomes, the greater the impacted the comparisons has on her life. One’s loneliness is NOT helped by social media. Even with text conversations, companionship is still missing, and loneliness only increases. REAL people need REAL people.
The Social Media depression problem is constantly discussed in mainstream media, but Social Media can’t be avoided, so what do you do?
Frequency is a Key Factor
It’s the frequency of comparisons that cause much of the negative effect. So, when you feel dragged down and depressed, take a break from Social Media. Walk away. Perhaps just grab a snack or a drink of water. Turn it off while focusing on homework or catching up on a favorite TV show. If it’s really making a deep impact, then disengage for an entire day or even a week. You might miss a few things, but knowing your value and self-worth is much more important than a few occurrences.
While you’re taking a break, fill that time with something beneficial. Listen to worship music, an audio Bible or an inspirational podcast devotional. Read an inspiring book, study God’s Word or journal. Watch a Christian film, do a craft or spend time talking to a friend or family member in person.
Know Who You are in God’s Eyes
Your self-esteem will impact how you view yourself. If you view yourself highly, you won’t be impacted as much by the comparisons you make. The strength of your self-esteem comes from how well you know yourself. You can’t fully know yourself unless you know how God views you. He adores you and made you beautifully. He created you, so naturally He will delight in you. He’s fond of you and has a great purpose for your life. He loves you so much that He died for you. Your worth has nothing to do with what other people are or are not doing. Your worth is based on God alone.
If you’re uncertain of what God thinks of you, just ask Him. Through quiet, stillness and prayer, God will whisper great and beautiful things to you. The Bible has a lot of passages about God’s view toward His people. Your parents, friends, youth pastor, coach, etc. can also help you understand how God views you.
Your worth has nothing to do with what other people are or are not doing.
You Were Created for a Purpose
Celebrate the accomplishments of other people. If you’re able to see what other people are doing and be happy for them because they’re pursuing God’s desires for their life, you’ll be full of joy, rather than depression.
The first step toward being happy for someone else is to know who you are and what you’re created for. God gave you a mission to pursue. He’s crafting you for something specific – something that is no one else’s responsibility. So, as you’re comparing yourself to everyone, know that your character, personality, opportunities, talents, etc. are different than everyone else because you have a particular purpose. If you can understand this about yourself, it will be easier for you to see how God is leading and guiding other people.
Reflecting only the Positive
Positive Self-preservationis the official term for people only posting the good things about their life. Realizing that there’s a whole side of the story that you’re not seeing will help you understand that life for everyone else isn’t perfect either.
This doesn’t mean that you need to post every element of your entire life to make yourself appear more “real.” No one wants to know what you ate for breakfast. Posting what you’re struggling with may be too much information. Certain content can be disrespectful. But you can be aware of your motivation behind each post. Ask God if your motivation is pure before you post or comment and ask Him for His wisdom and insight. Present yourself as multifaceted. You aren’t one dimensional, so give people something to think about, not just gawk at. You aren’t an animal at the zoo, you’re a person with an incredible personality and unique character. Express that individuality online and encourage other people to do the same.
People are Not Objects
Social Media allows you to minimize people to objects rather than the complex beings they truly are. You can disengage from consequences and emotions on social media. By objectifying people, you lose track of their humanity. There’s a lot of layers to every post on social media. You’re only seeing the surface.
When you find yourself objectifying someone, spend a quick minute praying for that person. God knows the depth of their life. You don’t, so give the situation to God. Ask Him to help you see others as people. Ask God to help you see their struggles, beauty and the journey that they’re on. There’s no better way to see the depths of someone’s heart than to ask them what’s going on in their life and connect with them in person. It might take some time to break through the wall that has naturally been built, but one stone at a time will eventually dismantle the barrier.
Social Media has its tragedies, but it’s an incredible avenue for experiencing the lives of other people while expressing your own passion. Use Social Media to connect with other people, rather than comparing yourself to them. A lot of people use Social Media to advocate a cause, to create change and to impact other people. That’s all great. But Social Media is also a place to simply be a good friend and a person who loves the Lord. Tell us how you’ve overcome Social Media Depression by messaging us on Facebook using #DepressionNoMore.