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Published on August 18, 2022

7 Healthy Habits for Social Media

7 Healthy Habits for Social Media

Post, like, share, comment – social media platforms never run out of new posts for you to interact with. But how does constantly scrolling through a never-ending feed of posts impact your health?

The link between health and social media is complex. On one hand, social media helps us maintain important social connections with far-away friends and family members. But at the same time, some social media content may increase feelings of anxiety and depression.

More research is needed to understand the complex relationship between social media and our health, but there are many ways we can take action today to protect our well-being by practicing healthy social media habits.

7 Healthy Habits for Social Media

Be intentional when you use social media. Instead of going on auto-pilot as you scroll through your feed, practice being mindful of what you’re seeing, thinking and feeling.

Focus on your real-life friends. Social media can be a great way to keep up with what your long-distance friends and family are up to. However, social media likes and comments don’t always provide the same interpersonal connection as a conversation over the phone, video chat or even text messages. Focus on those real-time conversations, and use social media as a secondary tool to nurture your real-life relationships.

Limit the time you spend scrolling each day. It’s easy for time to get away from us when we’re distracted on social media – but a small study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology shows that people who limit their time spent on social media to under 30 minutes each day report happier moods and feelings. Using the "do not disturb" function or focus time to manage screen time are great ways to put this practice in place. 

Follow people and pages that bring you joy. Are there any upsetting posts that pop up as you scroll through your feed? Unfollow, block or mute content that bothers you, and instead choose to follow things and people that make you happy.

Avoid using social media before bed. The blue light from our phones and other devices can negatively impact how well we sleep, but getting good night's rest is important for regulating your mood. Be sure to log off of social media and shut down your screens about an hour before bedtime.

When you’re out and about, live in the moment. When you’re doing something fun, don’t worry about having the perfect picture to share on social media. Instead, take full advantage of the moment by putting away your phone and being fully present.

Take a break! If you notice that using social media has made you feel anxious or depressed, it’s a good idea to take a break for a few days. Unplugging helps you recharge your batteries and helps you refocus on what’s most important in your life. 

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of anxiety or depression, you’re not alone – reach out to a trusted resource, like your health care provider, for help.

About the Author

Sannyu HarrisSannyu McDonald Harris, Ph.D., LCMHCS, is a licensed clinical mental health counselor with the Employee Assistance Counseling Program at Cone Health. She specializes in connecting with individuals about everyday life experiences that influence their mental health and wellbeing through communication and health relationship connections.