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Are YOU Ruling Your Time on Social Media or Is It Ruling YOU?

Here are 4 tips to help you create balance in your life!

Do you scroll through your social media feeds and feel like your friends have fabulous lives? Does it make you feel like you’re inadequate? These tips are intended to help you have better internet habits, create balance in your life, and improve your mental health. Overall, we hope that these tips will ensure that your social media use is a positive experience rather than a negative one.

Balance is KEY!

1. The best way to gain control over the internet is to schedule a time to use social media—and after that, take a break!

If needed, plan to have another activity scheduled after your social media time to “force” you to step away. Structuring your day and having a balance is the number one key to healthy social media usage.

2. Have a set focus when you get on the internet.

Is it Facebook first, then Twitter, then Instagram, and then YouTube? Hey, that’s great! We all need time to enjoy the internet! It’s when your time on the internet is without purpose, and hours later you are angry with yourself for forgetting about the other activities you also enjoy, that it becomes a problem. The bottom line is how you are structuring your day and forcing yourself to set limits with time management. Get offline and don’t allow yourself to be sucked in.

3. Like all aspects of your life, stay away from the negatives.

Frequent negative posts may indicate a negative person, and you don’t need that kind of influence in your life. It’s good to be selective about who you follow. If someone’s posts consistently make you feel bad about yourself, or they are just plain intrusive, then consider unfriending or unfollowing that person. Likewise, don’t let your emotions rule you! Think twice before posting a statement that you may later regret. Avoid spreading hate or cruel statements that are clearly directed to hurt someone. You never want to realize that the internet has created a true-blue monster in YOU!

4. Mental health comes first.

Hours and hours surfing the internet may not be the best treatment if you are bored, depressed, or anxious. The world of social media can enhance our lives, but it can also add stressors and contribute to anxiety or depression. Get away from your phone, computer, or tablet! Go outside! There is a world out there that continues to exist, and it existed long before the internet entered our lives.

Nothing should be more important than having face-to-face time with friends and family. Humans are social beings, and the internet, although it is interactive, can also be very isolating. It’s always important to identify your personal goals in life, which should include having face-to-face contact in the real world. Be conscious of the time you spend online, and make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

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As a licensed forensic psychologist, Dr. J. Buzz Von Ornsteiner, PhD, has a significant history working with the mentally ill, the cognitively impaired, and the addicted. He has worked within the restrictions of correctional facilities to the unprotected extremes of meeting the client within their home and out on the urban streets, and his forensic clinical work includes working as a crisis intervention psychologist as well as conducting guardianship competency evaluations for the City of New York. Dr. Buzz is the Program Director for EAC Network’s Mental Health Court Advocacy and Forensic Intensive Case Management programs.

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