I was actually pretty shocked that social media wasn’t on most lists of what people stress about. Infidelity, politics, family and friend drama…. It can all be found just by checking out your news feed. Lets face it, social media is a huge source of stress. In 2011 One-third of all divorce depositions had the word Facebook in it. 81% of divorce attorneys say social media related divorces are on the rise.
Now, in all fairness, I believe most people probably use social media for what it was intended- To stay in touch with friends and family, however even thats not without its own major issues. Social media had created an alternate reality. A reality where friends, both real and known only-through-social-media, have these problem free, privileged A-lister celebrity lives. It appears they can afford anything they want, they can party all the time. They always have a huge smile on their face and are surrounded by beautiful people. When every other person on social media displays this paradigm, it makes it so easy to start questioning our own lives. I mean, they’re nothing spectacular, and last you knew they were making 38k a year working in middle management for a small time LLC. What changed? How is their life so amazing? The answer is simple: Nothing Changed, and their life isn’t that fabulous. The reality is, it’s in peoples nature to show off and unless they’re 16 and dye their hair black, most people don’t post their stresses, sorrows and miseries on their social media pages. They post memories that make them happy, memories that they want to share (or just show off). People don’t post reality. They don’t post pics of their bills, or collections notices. They don’t post videos of them yelling at their children or arguing with their spouses. They don’t post their heartbreaks and fears. When’s the last time someone you knew posted “the whole family has diarrhea, guess I wont cook chicken again”?
The reality of social media is, it’s not reality. It lets us be who we want to be, but not who we really are. This is evident in the fact that the average online affair lasts less than 6 months, and if the affair goes to the next level, the relationship will have an averaged lifespan of 90 days. Anybody online can be a perfect friend, an amazing listener, or even greener grass. However, they are still as human as you; they don’t clean up after themselves. They don’t pay all their bills on time, and, yes they get diarrhea. They’re as human as any of your other friends, family, spouse, etc…
So, how do we destress from the electronic alternate reality? Well, the simple answer is divorce it an move on. It’s actually pretty simple to deactivate your social media accounts. I did this, and so can you, plus, I prefer to call or text the people important to me. I do understand how important it is for a lot of people to be able to have that electronic connection to people they care about. So, my suggestion is, stay focused only on those people, while simultaneously spending a lot less time on social media. Set your accounts to private so you get to pick and choose who gets to know you. Stay out of online arguments; social media is a great place to raise your blood pressure, be it arguments amongst friends and family, politics or religion. Ignore online bullies, block them even if they are supposed friends.
In closing I’d like to emphasize, put down your phones and tablets. Hug your kids, spend some intimate time with your spouse. When you pick your phone back up, text or call your friends and family. Text your mom that pic of your kid making a funny face, make it personal. Whatever you decide, just don’t let your obituary say “Not much to say, he/she always had their nose buried in their electronics”.