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Reducing social media stress

Connections, Volume 4, No. 1, Winter 2017 (PDF)

We often turn to social media to connect with friends and share news. What happens when enjoyment is replaced with stress? Nearly 40 percent of adults recently reported feeling stressed by social media posts about the election and cultural hot-button issues (American Psychological Association, October 2016).

“Social media is often used as a coping strategy,” says Taryn Millar, Psy.D., chief operating officer for Saint Luke Institute. “People turn to social media to escape stress. Now, rather than the relief they expect, social media is bringing more stress.” Dr. Millar recommends simple coping strategies to decrease stress levels.

Limit your time on social media. Turn off notification alerts on your phone and email. Find a replacement activity that you enjoy: another kind of safe technology, a walk, deep breathing, mindfulness or a fun activity.

You cannot control what others write, but you can practice good self care so you are less stressed and don’t post something impulsively you will regret. Finally, if you need to be online for work or ministry, restrict this activity to normal work hours. Don’t post at night when you are tired. Also, plan a short break immediately after being online to give yourself time to decompress if needed.