“I feel it whenever I sign in. That warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of my belly when I get a ‘like’ on the ‘gram. You do too, don’t you?
The vast majority of us are addicted to the gram because our brains tell us to be.
Yup – scientists have found that positive feedback on social media induces nature’s feel-good chemical dopamine. That’s the same chemical that’s released when we ride rollercoasters, exercise or have sex. Good old dopamine.
It’s unsurprising then, that social media has the power to affect our self-esteem, for better and for worse. For some, social media is a rehabilitative tool, helping to build their confidence. If that’s you -teach me! Unfortunately, for many, social media has a more destructive effect on their sense of self. So if, like me, social media can get you down, here’s 5 habits to kick for a happier online you.
1. Obsessively checking likes:
I get it, we post something cute or witty, perhaps a bit of both and we want people to like it. Who wouldn’t? But it becomes a bit of problem when we need peoples likes, when we value ourselves based on these likes. If you delete pictures that have low responses and/or ceaselessly check your likes; don’t – you’re more than the sum of some digital red hearts.
2. Comparing yourself to others:
As the saying goes “comparison is the thief of joy” and what a clever thief he is. First we start liking posts, then liking the person posting, then we’re making unjustified judgements on our own lives based on theirs. Appreciation is great, inspiration even better but never forget that we all have our own journey. Don’t waste your life worrying about someone else’s.
3. Stalking bae:
Again, who doesn’t? A sneaky check on Mr(s) page or two is natural, inevitable really. I like to check on mine on the weekends. However, if you’re lurking looking for clues or evidence of infidelity there may be a deeper problem. Talk, don’t stalk and see if you and bae can work it out.
4. Stalking your ex:
But Vistra, how else will I know who came out better? You won’t! You let them go, so let them be gone. On and off the screen. This applies to their new partner too!
5. Filtering your life:
Social media is meant to be an extension of who you are, not a reinvention. Of course if you’re changing in real life it’s cool to document it. Just be mindful of applying filters to your real life, of trying to project a false version of who you are. Your page is yours, don’t make it someone else.
So there you have it, your five steps to social media bliss. If you’re feeling particularly brave you could even delete the app for a while. Who knows what could happen with all that spare time on your hands.”