News & Media

28 June 2019

Four ways you can improve your mental wellbeing in the online world

We’ve all been there, experiencing that moment of dread when you pick up your phone only to wish you hadn’t opened that text, email or private message. Most of us have posted a photo or status online only to mull for hours over the number of ‘likes’, comments or reactions it gets (or doesn’t, much to our disappointment).

We can probably all think of a ‘social media figure’ whose public profile, persona and images we look up to and secretly envy, for no real reason. But have you ever wondered if any of this online behaviour actually does you any good?

We’ve asked a couple of our counsellors for their advice on keeping a healthy mindset when we’re scrolling through the online world.

Angry and annoyed teen

Tip one: Cut back your daily screen time

In this day and age, it’s pretty hard to be completely off the internet. In saying that, simply reducing the hours you spend in front of a computer or scrolling on your phone can be enough of a break to refocus on the present and not feel overwhelmed by social media. Setting limits (and making sure you stick to those limits) can be a huge help. Try to be online for work or education purposes only, and if that’s too much of a jump, just start off by avoiding logging on before and after sleep.

Tip two: Filter your newsfeeds and other online content

Our reactions to online material can be negative without us even realising it. Unfollow or avoid blogs, accounts, hashtags (you name it) that might elicit negative emotions. For example, we might follow a fitness blog and our response to that blog triggers our anxiety. Does the question, ‘why can’t I look like that?’ sound familiar? Ideally, you want to follow blogs and profiles that promote positive feelings – think inspiration after reading a travel blog or motivation to get cooking after reading of a local foodie’s ventures. Follow more of those sorts of accounts and get rid of the ones that leave you feeling down.

Tip three: Make the most of mental health and wellbeing apps

There are so many amazing online resources that can help you if you’re struggling with your mental wellbeing. Try out some of the apps like CalmHeadspace or even search for relaxation and fitness apps. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this blog post: Feeling anxious? Technology can help.

Calm app functionalities

Tip four: Get back to reality

This is without a doubt the most important tip of all: reconnect with your friends and family in the physical world. Seek to do things in real life – continue to meet people face-to-face, shop in brick and mortar stores, take the kids to the local park and try to attend a community event (theatre production, farmers’ market, folk festivals) at least once a month. You never know, you might find yourself scrolling mindlessly through social media less and less.