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Social media is robbing everything away from us — time, health, peace, sleep, self-esteem, confidence, sense of security — everything. But its a boon too!

One can use it to influence the masses, help people and thus, we should be extremely grateful for that. So, it’s all about using it the right way either to influence people or to destroy your life. Just like we have good food, we know that too much of it, in excess becomes an obsession. An excess of anything is dangerous for our health.

While many have built successful businesses out of social media, found great connections others have spiralled into depression, loneliness and sadness; they’ve ruined their sleep, messed up their priorities, started questioning their self-worth and even felt inadequate when comparing their lives with others.

This technology-driven feature is accessible to all. Some make sure that they are using it to their advantage and not to their disadvantage. This brings us to the question, is developing a healthier relationship with social media even possible? Absolutely yes.

Here are few things Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach – Integrative Medicine shares to remember while developing this relationship:

Know that things aren’t always how they look: Everything you see does not have to be real. The lives of most people appear to portray they have done well, but a lot of them are living off their parent’s wealth, living in the homes of or given by their parents, flaunting clothes, jewellery, cars, etc that don’t belong to them.

Is it possible to develop a healthy relationship with Social Media? (Photo: pixabay)

A lot of people own material things on loan, which in a way is not theirs until they pay off the loan. It’s easy to take loans and show the world a life that is not real. Many holidays, material things, etc that you see being flaunted on social media are sponsored or gifts and not really earned, so know that as well.

Then, of course, you have apps that can make you thin, add fake abs, decrease waistlines and increase bust lines etc and you see this in awe, then look at yourself and immediately feel inadequate. Today the medical world has a name for it – “Snapchat Dysmorphia,” . It refers to the psychological phenomena of patients bringing filtered selfies to their plastic surgeons to illustrate the desired surgical changes they want to achieve. Understand that it is all fake and no amount of surgeries will ever fill up low self-worth. If you don’t have solid self-worth, social media and society can negatively affect your life and health.

Haven an intention and set the time you want to spend on social media:Before you start your day with social media sit back and reflect on why you are on it or why you are going to spend time on it. Enter it with a mission. Do you want to post a picture, update a status, learn something, inspire someone, motivate, connect with someone or simply scroll and pass time? When we use social media without an intention and agenda, chances are we may end up spending a lot of time on it and gain nothing in return. Identify what is it that you want to gain out of spending time on social media, set time for it and disconnect when the purpose is met. You can use social media to learn, inspire, share, educate etc, and then you can use it to feel good about yourself or get locked into watching the lives of other people.

Before you start your day with social media sit back and reflect on why you are on it or why you are going to spend time on it. Enter it with a mission, be it to learn, share, inspire, motivate, pass time or is it because it’s going to fill some void in you? Know this and be mindful.

It is a virtual world:  All the likes, hearts, comments, appreciation, trolling you receive from social media, know that it is coming from a virtual world. You can have a million followers on your page, but that does not mean you are also the most loved or the happiest. A lot of people search for validation on social media, and that’s the worst place to get validation from. You need to connect with reality and unfortunately, for the most part, the virtual world is nowhere close to the real world. If you need to look to social media for constant advice on how to dress, how to date, whom to date, then you need to work at less social media time and more time just being you and living the real you etc.

Truly experience what it is to “Fast” from social media: A lot of people who once thought they cannot do without social media have taken up fasting only to realise how good it feels to be off it for some time. Time and again, take a detox from social media. Shut down completely for a day and experience what it feels like. Improved sleep, better relationships, a happier mind, increased self-worth, having ample time to complete the tasks you have always procrastinated are some of the short and long-term benefits of a social media detox.

In short, social media is a boon as well as a curse and that depends on how you use it. Use social media if you want to, it can give you a lot in return, but use it in balance and use it well.

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