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Hi there. My name is Kat Robey and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. I work with Thriveworks in the beautiful city of Tucson, Arizona. The question today is, “How do I make social media a positive experience?”

So we’re going to look at that in three different ways. One, what are you posting to? What are you consuming? And three, how and when are you using social media?

So in that first one, what are you posting? Are you posting things that are honest, are kind, are informative that people can trust? What are the things that you’d like to see that you’re not necessarily seeing in other people’s feeds? You can be the model for what you’d like to see. At the very least, you can be your own best example of what you’d like to put out into the world because it’s based on who you are.

So you trusting that the things that you’re interested in and the things that you want to share with the world are important enough to put out. There is a great place to start. So looking at how you’re posting the kinds of content and if that is creating a positive experience for social media in general, that’s one way.

The second thing to consider is what are you consuming? So we’re consuming all day long different platforms and media is an apps and headlines and all kinds of different ways, but specifically to social media, who are you following and what sorts of articles or posts are getting your attention, which ones are upsetting to you? If you know that those things are going to be upsetting, perhaps you remove them from your feed, perhaps you start following people that are uplifting to you or that make you feel good about a specific topic.

There’s lots of different ways to cultivate what it is that you are going to engage in in social media. And actually engaging is another key because just watching and scrolling is one way of being in social media. But a way to make it more positive is actually to engage, to like and to comment and to share and to keep a discussion going that you’re fond of or that you believe in.

So that’s kind of blending both worlds there in terms of what you’re seeing, what you’d like to see and how you specifically are contributing to social media with your own posts. I’d also like to consider that social media sometimes gets a bad rap because people will think, ah, they’re just showing the highlight reels. What if that’s true? What if a friend came over and you considered what they were doing was showing you their scrapbook.

They’re not showing you all of the rainy bad times and the times they missed their flight and the times where they had blisters on their feet. They’re showing you what they loved about their trip. So it could be part of a mindset shift for you to think that social media, whatever people decide to put up that reflects who they are and what’s important to them. It doesn’t always have to be important to you so you have permission to scroll past those things or unfollow those things if that makes social media feel like a more positive experience for you.

Now, the last thing I want to talk about is how and when you are using social media, it can be really fun to be on social media, to be engaged with your friends and even to be playing games together, watching movies together. There’s so many different ways that we can use social media these days and there’s so many kinds of social media, but sometimes it’s a useful thing to escape our regular life and we stare at our little screens and stare at our screens and stare at our screens and when we look up, we have no idea where the day went, which can make us feel not so great.

So being really intentional about how you spend time on social media is another thing to think about. You might consider doing it at a certain time of day for a certain amount of time. You might even put a timer on it or use it as a reward for getting something accomplished that you wanted to get accomplished, whether that’s productivity at work or just spending time with some people that you love or doing part of that project you always talk about doing.

Maybe then after you do one of those things that makes you feel a bit accomplished on some level, and you give yourself the reward of going and checking out social media. When it can be a not so positive thing is when we’re using it to avoid or not engage in our own life. So it may not feel like avoidance, but if we’re losing hours and hours and hours looking at other people’s lives and not engaging in our own, that can be really detrimental. So those are some things to consider in terms of making social media a more positive experience.

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Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is the Content Development Manager at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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