Social media - it undoubtedly brought us a revolutionary way of connecting with each other. Whether this form of connection is a genuine one is not as clear. More relatedness than giving a few likes and comments on platforms like instagram is usually not felt. What is commonly felt however is the constant comparison with others and perfectionism which seem to aggravate states of anxiety and other negative emotions.
Good news is: While we can not change the nature of social media, we can improve our relationship with it! All we have to do is to shift our focus onto what we already HAVE and away from lack.
Smyth et al. (2018) have found that “positive affect journaling”(PAJ) can increase mental well-being and reduce symptoms of anxiety. In the study 70 individuals with anxiety resulting from various medical conditions have participated. Half of the group was assigned to participate in a Web-based PAJ intervention lasting 15 min on 3 days each week for 12 weeks while the other half did not. The first group answered questions like "what are you grateful for today”? As a result group one showed reductions of mental distress and reported increased well-being.
Sometimes all of us give in to the social media scroll for longer than initially intended. Important is that if we encounter any negative feelings afterwards to remind ourselves of the things we are thankful for in the present moment and to write. them. down.
Smyth, J. M., Johnson, J. A., Auer, B. J., Lehman, E., Talamo, G., & Sciamanna, C. N. (2018). Online Positive Affect Journaling in the Improvement of Mental Distress and Well-Being in General Medical Patients With Elevated Anxiety Symptoms: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR mental health, 5(4), e11290. https://doi.org/10.2196/11290