Did you know that Facebook is commonly making people feel depressed?
But technology can be a seriously harmful thing. Unless you know how to make it healthier.
Good news is: there is tons you can do to make Facebook healthier.
Why Make Facebook Healthier?
Facebook is unhealthy. Big time.
So many of my friends and followers have made comments like:
- “Facebook makes me feel depressed.”
- “Facebook makes me feel sad.”
- “Facebook makes me jealous”
- “Facebook makes me insecure”
- “Facebook makes me feel lonely. . . “
- People are even saying that Facebook makes them fat!
Everyday someone asks me how to make Facebook a more positive experience.
Scientific studies show that Facebook has a seriously negative effect on mental health. So bad that celebrities like Daisy Ridley are starting to speak out about social media .
If you’re feeling lonely on Facebook, let me assure you that you most definitely are not alone.
In recent research, it was shown that 44% of all Facebook users feel depressed during their visit to the site. Below, I’ve shared the most common reasons people feel depressed on Facebook.
Why Facebook Makes You Feel Depressed, Jealous and Lonely
- Feeling jealous of Facebook friends (because everyone exaggerates how great their life is on Facebook).
- Having too many friends who we don’t actually know (studies show the percentage of Facebook friends we actually know is about 11% [2)]
- The leading cause of Facebook related depression is comparing yourself to other people. Even though we know that most status updates are either a) complete BS or b) exaggerations of the truth, it seems near impossible not to compare ourselves to others.
- Profile pictures: 99% of people on Facebook have happy pictures. We see these happy pictures all the time and presume that other people are always happy. This then makes us feel bad for not being happy 100% of the time ourselves.
Information Overload On Facebook
Information overload is one of the primary causes of mental health complications in the 21st Century.
The average human being registers 13 million bits of information through the senses every second of the day. We’re consciously aware of only one to three of those bits of information. The brain is not even close to being equipped to handle that much information.
Most of the information we’re exposed to is manmade. US San Diego conducted research that showed that we take in approximately 100,000 words a day.
That’s a problem.
The short-term memory of human beings is not equipped to handle more than seven items at a time. That’s seven pieces of information were supposed to handle, against the 13 million bits of information we’re inundated with.
This information overload is a major cause of depression, anxiety and stress. Sure, we can use mindfulness habits like these ones that help us to overcome information overload. But even the most Zen amongst us are not infallible to the effects of information overload.
Information overload causes serious mental health problems:
The symptoms of information overload include:
- Poor short-term memory
- Hurry sickness (constantly feeling like we’re in a rush)
- Compulsion to check email / Facebook etc.
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Digital Marketing experts estimate that the average person is currently exposed to 10,000 adverts a day. Profits from online advertising are predicted to grow to $220.38 billion by 2019, and the total number of ads is predicted to grow by at least 50% in that time span. The new Facebook Messenger ads are a large part of the problem.
The internet is probably going to get more unhealthy.
Here’s what to do about it…
Making Facebook Less Depressing
Yeah. Facebook is fun.
But it’s also annoying, distracting, and unhealthy.
If you want to have a productive and healthy day, you should probably stay off Facebook, or at least limit your time on it.
Screen addiction is one of the most common health problems today. And a large part of that is Facebook.
Many scientific studies have proven that Facebook is bad for you. But forget the science. We’re smart enough to know that all that scrolling data and the constant bullshit is not healthy for our minds. It will ruin your inner peace. And inner peace is worth a lot more than a few Facebook notifications.
Facebook has been proven to:
- reduce your self esteem
- impair your ability to concentrate
- change the way you perceive yourself.
It would be easy to tell ourselves that we’ll use Facebook less. But it’s not that easy to follow-through on that promise.
We’re probably not going to stop using Facebook. Let’s just face that now. But we can change the way we use Facebook.
- We can make Facebook healthier.
- We can make Facebook less annoying.
- We can make Facebook less distracting.
- We can make Facebook less lonely
- And we can make Facebook less depressing.
How To Make Facebook Healthier For The Mind
1. Use FB purity
I personally use Chrome as my browser—I find it quicker and easier to use.
On Chrome, there’s a fantastic extension called FB Purity. It allows you to “Clean-up” your newsfeed and other elements of Facebook.
All those depressing, distracting, and annoying parts of Facebook? You can get rid of them.
You can do a heck of a lot with FB Purity. You can
- remove Facebook ads.
- stop images from displaying.
- limit your newsfeed to specific people.
- change the fonts and colours.
- Whatever you want to do with Facebook, FB Purity lets you do it.
Personally I turn off the ads, remove both sidebars, remove all post types that I don’t need to see, and turn off all notifications for games and apps.
One step, and already Facebook is healthier and less annoying.
So, to start making Facebook less distracting, less annoying and less depressing, use FB Purity.
2. Monitor Friends Closely
Facebook and social media make it too easy for people to get away with things like Gaslighting, manipulating, and abuse.
And even a lot of well-meaning people are still pretty negative.
You really don’t need to be hearing bad news from negative people all the time. That’s all three of our no nos. It’s depressing, annoying, and distracting.
Take a look at your friends list.
You’ve likely got at least a few people who always deliver bad news. Do you really need to hear all that negativity all the time?
Personally I used to feel that negative people sapped all my energy and motivation. I’d hop on Facebook and hey presto there’s those same three people telling me how awful life is. Like I need to hear that.
Thank goodness for the delete button.
And if you don’t want to hit delete because you don’t want to offend anyone, there’s always the Unfollow option .
Now we’re starting to feel a lot more Zen on Facebook.
3. Unlike depressing Facebook pages. LIKE positive pages
About a week ago it suddenly occurred to me that the majority of page likes mean absolutely nothing.
Now, that probably sounds weird because I’ve got LIKE buttons around my website and yes I do want you to like my Facebook page. But honestly, The Daily Meditation’s Facebook page is pretty different to most others.
Let’s focus on the average page that you probably have in your LIKES list.
Clean up your Facebook Page Likes
- Go ahead and take a look at your Likes List .
- Notice how you have liked thousands of pages that you’ve forgotten about? You probably liked them on the spur of the moment, for curiosity’s sake. And you’ve probably never interacted with them since. The more information you have in the newsfeed, the more junk your mind has to deal with.
- Go through each page and unlike every page that is a) unhealthy or b) you just plain don’t care about it.
4. Ask for less posts from friends who talk themselves up
Facebook is notorious for having a ton of people gloating about themselves. People like to pretend they are rock stars.
The problem with this is that it effects your self esteem. Because we humans compare ourselves to others even when we know that a lot of what other people say is far from the truth.
Every time someone on your Facebook list decides to be fake and make their lives seem better than they are, they also take a shot at your self esteem.
Don’t let fakers get you down. Just click on the down arrow in the newsfeed and select “I Don’t Want To See This”, and then “See Less From…”
5. Be Honest About Yourself
Here’s the big one.
It can be tempting to make yourself look like a superstar on Facebook. Just one problem. If you do that you will be lying to yourself. And that is never good for your confidence.
Face the BS and dance:
Remind yourself that 99% of what you’re seeing on Facebook is either complete rubbish or an exaggeration on the truth. People’s status update are very rarely 100% accurate and honest.
Any time you’re on Facebook and a negative thought arises, challenge the thought and think positive. After all, positivity makes you healthy.
If a friend is doing something cool tonight and you’re jealous, think “Well, I hope they have a nice time. I went out only a few days ago. I’m more than happy to relax at home tonight.” Challenge negative thoughts with positive ones.
Facebook is addictive.
It’s designed to be addictive.
Facebook makes billions by intentionally making you addicted to the site.
That’s why I hope you will try to stop using Facebook as much as possible and replace it with something more positive. Go for a jog. Go talk to friends in the real world. Mediate. Relax. Do something positive that will actually make you feel better.
Tell Your FB Friends You’re Going:
Help your friends while you help yourself. Tell your friends you’re leaving Facebook. Give them an alternative and more healthy means of communicating with you. Let them know that you’ve heard that Facebook causes depression and you think it’s a bad thing. Let them know about this article and read it for themselves. Perhaps that way you can inspire others to find a more healthy and positive means of communicating too.
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