It’s no secret that dependency on your digital devices can easily take a toll on your psychological well-being.
Spending too much time on social media can give you the false notion that everyone is happier, healthier, and wealthier that you are. As scroll through your feed, you might grow a little jealous of a friend who is driving a car you can’t afford or those family vacation photos that remind you that you haven’t done anything fun in a long time.
Within just a couple of minutes of scrolling, your mental health might decline. Studies have found that envying your friends’ lives on Facebook, is directly linked to depression.
Too much time on electronics has also been linked to sleep difficulties and a variety of health and relationship issues. And quite often, technology is demonized as people say things like, “Our electronics are ruining our mental health.”
But, it’s not technology that’s ruining our mental health. It’s the choices that we’re making with technology that determines whether these tools are good or bad for us.
If you make healthy choices, you can actually use your digital devices to build mental strength. Your screen time can be an opportunity to grow stronger and become better.
Here are three ways to use your digital devices to build mental strength:
1. Follow positive people on social media.
Choose to follow and friend people who inspire you to become better. Select accounts who offer you solid information that you can apply to your life.
When you do so, you’ll ensure that you’re filling your feed with positive people who offer motivational messages, educational information, and actionable tips.
On the flipside, stop looking at accounts that aren’t helpful to you. There’s no need to keep looking at images and information that cause you to feel worse about your life.
Don’t be afraid to unfollow, mute, or delete accounts that aren’t good for you. Even if that means blocking a family member, set healthy boundaries that will help you grow stronger. It’s your feed–you’re in control of the content.
2. Use apps or online courses that build mental muscle.
Whether you want to learn meditation or you want to practice skills to help change the way you think, there are tons of apps and online courses that can help you build mental strength.
If you want skills to help boost your happiness, Happify can teach you how to increase positive positions. Based on positive psychology science, the self-guided app can help you learn how to address problem-areas, such as anxiety or relationship difficulties.
Those are just a few examples of tools that can put mental muscle building exercises right at your fingertips all day long. That means you can practice your skills from anywhere at any time of day.
3. Use social media to actually connect with people.
Despite the invention of social media, many people are feeling more isolated than ever in the digital age. Loneliness has become an epidemic and it’s more harmful to your health than smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
Rather than mindlessly scrolling through your social feeds, use social media to interact with others. Post content, leave meaningful comments, and find people who share your interests.
Use social media as a tool to increase your social engagement. Reach out to people on social media to stay connected and to get to know them better.
You might also find that social media is a good way to schedule more face-to-face interactions. Whether you ask who wants to meet up when you’re back in your old hometown or you set up a networking opportunity when you’re on a business trip, don’t let social media replace real-life connections.
Get Proactive About Your Screen Time Use
Pay attention to the ways your digital devices might be draining your mental strength and establish healthy limits. That may mean not sleeping with your phone in the room, limiting your time on a certain app, or deleting an account altogether.
You have the power to use your technology to help you become your best. Be mindful of what apps you use, how you spend your time online, and what tools you’re implementing to build the mental muscle you need to reach your greatest potential.
This article was originally published on Inc.
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