Social Media and Changing Social Habits
Since the creation of Facebook in 2004, we have been able to connect around the world through the touch of a button. Although, some would argue that this new form of social interaction has some negative side effects.
Less Connected Than Ever
Is it possible that something meant to bring people together has made us less connected than ever? YES. According to Mehrabian's Theory, only 7% of communication is based on the written or verbal word and 93% is based on nonverbal body language. We never truly know how a person is feeling from written word alone. We need the eye-to-eye contact that comes with in-person communication.
Many of us have experienced the jolt of excitement that comes with seeing that numbered red box appear in our notifications. That is a quality of addiction and the result of feel-good chemicals released in response to a stimulus (the like/comment). Studies have shown that Facebook activates the same areas of the brain that are activated by substance and gambling addiction.
Social media allows people to portray only the positive things that are happening in their life, and they show the very best version of themselves. The feeling of everyone around you having it all without worries or regrets can leave you in puddle of self-pity and loathing. We begin to feel like our lives are not as good and you wonder what you have done wrong. We never see what is truly happening in another persons life behind the perfect picture painted by social media.
A study by University of Ulster researchers showed that "the amount of time spent on social network websites was negatively correlated with the respondents’ level of physical activity". In other words, if time is spent on social media it is taking away from time spent doing other activities like exercise and sports it could lead to weight gain.
Social media is not something that is going to disappear anytime soon. We simply need to incorporate it into our lives in a healthy fashion. Have difficulty doing this? Try this free software called Cold Turkey which blocks websites like Facebook and helps to increase focus and productivity. Try making it a rule in your home that cellphones and computers stay out of the bedroom or perhaps they get turned off in the evening. Think about the amount of time you spend on social media and decide to dedicate some of that to physical activity, reading, interacting face-to-face or cooking. Utilize social media as a motivator to become more active by sharing a fitness goal or achievement on social media. Use innovative apps like Sworkit, Nike Training Club and Couch to 5K. Social media can be part of a healthy lifestyle!
What are your strategies for incorporating social media into your life in a healthful, balanced way? Tell us in the comment section below.