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The writer is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist.
Bia Jehanzeb Asks:
How To Set Boundaries On Social Media To Improve Mental Health?
Technological advancement has paved the way for increased digital socialization and communication. Every hand is now occupied with some sort of smart gadget, be it phones, tablets, laptops, or any other connectivity device. This abundance of resources and connectivity is consuming all of our lives. There are various online social media platforms, like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat … and the list goes on. Hence, social networking is engulfing the time and energy of uncountable lives all over the globe. How many instances can be found where you’re scrolling through these online sites mindlessly and endlessly? It is proving to be the new addiction, and it always happens to the best of us.
Its purpose is not only entertainment but has also taken its toll on business and marketing in the real world. Now people are more inclined towards online e-businesses and shopping. Therefore, social media isn’t just for mere scrolling. It is also a personal and social need. As a simple example, consider that through online shopping, you have access that extends beyond your local resources. This excessive dependence is now leading to mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and frustration. It has also become an everyday issue in all of our lives.
Setting boundaries on social media usage is all the more important because we must engage with it to facilitate our life. Therefore, mindful strategies and coping styles are needed. Starting from small steps like setting reasonable limits by being aware of your screen time could be the easy and accessible thing to do. Putting away your phone from time to time will decrease the habit of mindlessly grabbing your phone whenever you’re bored. Reading books will also help a lot in controlling the usage. It is impossible to have long dry spells as it has become a drug for this generation, so relapse will occur. Hence, setting doable time slots will help in managing the habit.
Moreover, the practice of technological detoxification can also be an excellent step. For instance, when you meet friends over lunch or dinner, let them be familiar with your strategy of setting healthy social media boundaries. Make it a part of your life to put away phones unless it’s an emergency call, and enjoy sitting with your friends only in the present. Make healthy and fun plans with your friends or family so that you don’t need the urge to lurk on social media during those times.The excessive usage of social media has made our generation dopamine junkies. The urge to refresh the news feed and have a new or novel thing to look at every time has made us addicted. Therefore, for detoxification, it is also necessary to have a connection with nature. This strategy will spiritually cleanse and heal you and help alleviate the mental stress and anxiety that is the byproduct of unrestrained social media usage.
As mental health advocates and responsible citizens of this country, we all should make awareness campaigns in our surroundings. Little steps will not be little if they help even a few people around us. Let’s try and help the world out of this pandemic that is overtaking our youth with immense vigour.