Social media blues

It may be good for your mental well-being and overall outlook to take a break from social media from time to time. Facebook and Twitter may be giving you a distorted view of the world and making you less satisfied with the life you actually have.

Mary Jo Rapini, Houston-based psychotherapist and relationships counselor, says it’s largely a generational issue.  “The millennials were the first generation that was really raised in this,” she notes, since they’ve been exposed to computers from a very young age.  “So what we’re finding is, their idea of reality is much different.  It’s a little bit warped from what reality really is.”

For starters, how many followers you have on Twitter does not mean you have that many actual friends.  “Their virtual friendships are very important,” Rapini points out.  “However, where the real trouble happens is when you need somebody to show up, to actually be there for you.”  She adds, “Virtual is virtual,” not real.

Comparing themselves to the edited versions of the lives other people are supposedly living, frequent social media users often create unrealistic expectations for their own lives.  As a result, Rapini observes, “This is the most anxious generation of all times.”

“I think of it as an addiction,” she says.  “Some people eat, some people smoke, and some people just stare at the screen the whole time.”  Rapini recommends limiting your time on social media—and making at least one date or meeting per week with an actual friend.

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