We end off the Maintaining Mental Fitness Series 2 with Dr. Bill Howatt of Howatt HR with the topic of Setting Social Media Boundaries.  The purpose of mental fitness is to promote positive mental health.  Even things we enjoy doing, can drain us.  It is important to recharge our batteries when we notice them being drained from stressful situations as well as even when we do things we enjoy.   

Why do so many people actively engage in such small devices like our smart phones such as through social media?  Even though there can be immediate gratification from responses to our posts, there can be unintended consequences of the use of social media. 

How social media can affect your mental health

Even when our intent on using a social media platform is positive, excessive use can have a negative affect on our mental health

Positive example of social media is checking out Thanksgiving photos of family can help us feel connected.  Inversely we know now that when we have good feelings about something, our brain remembers that and will reach into those memories to bring forward those things to be able to make us feel better when we experience negative feelings. 

Process addiction is continuously checking out social media to get the positive feelings that the brain remembers.  Social contagion facilitators.  Looking for immediate reactions.  People keep checking so they don’t miss something and constant anticipation that something good could happen.

In Singapore, they are starting to detox people from social media addiction.

Social media does not build relationships.  People check their numbers to see how many are engaged but this is not the process of building relationships.

Be prudent to realize how much time you are engaging in social media and compare that to the amount of time you are engaging in-person with someone else.  Many of us will say we don’t’ have time, but are we spending that time on social media and doing other things.

Why setting social media boundaries is important

  • Social media can be an escape from reality when someone feels that their life in the real world is not what they want it to be.  However, it can lead to a vicious cycle when seeing other peoples’ envy-inducing posts.
  • This can lead to a person wanting to post their own jealousy-inducing photos or stories, becoming an endless circle of one-upping and feeling jealous.

Social media affects our physical health

  • Studies have shown that laying in bed and exposing yourself to blue light emissions from your devices inhibits your bodies production of melatonin, the hormone that facilitates sleep.
  • It should also be noted that in a study from the University of Pittsburgh, it was identified that how often someone checked their device was a high predictor of disturbed sleep.  (i.e. Obsessive checking)

Motivation for Setting Boundaries

  • Why is it a good idea to set boundaries and learn to disconnect from social media?
  • Studies have found that taking a break from social media improves mental health through increased mood, decreased anxiety, and improved quality of sleep.

Tips for Setting Social Media Boundaries

Join us this winter for the agriculture specific maintaining mental fitness 10-week series stating in January 2022 with Howatt HR.   Stay tuned for further details.

The recordings of the full 12 episodes of Maintaining Mental Fitness Series 2 by Dr Bill Howatt of Howatt HR can be found at maintainingmentalfitness.com.  Each of the episodes have been summarized for a brief overview.  To gain the full context of each topic, visit the website.

Episode Topics:

Episode 1 – Moving away from loneliness starts from within

Episode 2 – Tips for being less overwhelmed at work (Feeling overwhelmed is the new norm)

Episode 3 – Tips for taming negative emotions

Episode 4 – Relationship survival tips

Episode 5 – Tips for dealing with emotional exhaustion

Episode 6 – Benefits of monitoring positive and negative daily changes

Episode 7 – Insulating for irritability (Tips for managing anger)

Episode 8 – Halting self-doubt

Episode 9 – Tips for unplugging from work

Episode 10 – Tossing social rejection

Episode 11 – Blending demands of home and work

Episode 12 – Setting social media boundaries