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Working Through the Negative Impacts of Facebook in 5 Simple Steps

By Orly Katz, LCPC at Everyday Counseling and Coaching Services

Many of us, myself included, enjoy using social web sites such as Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends or get acquainted with new ones. But for some of my clients, who are avid users, Facebook also brings frustration and annoyance. Here is what I often hear:

I don’t want to see anymore engagement rings pictures posted

She is oh so perfect, I can never measure up

They are going on all those trips and having fun and I am stuck.

These reactions and similar ones often increase stress and elevate anxiety. Often, they have negative impacts and provoke uncomfortable feelings. You might feel that others are more successful and develop an obsession with the online details of their lives. You might be jealous of others’ accomplishments and dismiss or minimize yours. You might have unrealistic judgment of the importance of others by reading others’ comments or counting numbers of likes. This might even lead to developing physical reactions such tension, rapid heart rate, and headaches

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At times, you might become aware of such reactions and feel you need to change your attitude in order to protect yourself and be at peace with yourself.

So what are the benefits of taking action to change these negative feelings?

  • You take charge and feel responsible and in control of your destiny and feelings
  • You feel accomplished and proud
  • You feel important and not judged
  • You feel positive and not react to others’ actions
  • You learn to love and appreciate yourself
  • You practice setting boundaries and protecting self
  • You develop a better, more substantial, and real support network

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Here are five simple steps you can make to change your approach and gain these benefits:

Assess triggers: Review comments and likes in the past few months that triggered discomfort or other painful emotions. Talk with supportive family and friends about your feelings and assess your attitude. On a scale of 1-10 (0 being unhappy and reactive to comments and 10 being very happy and pleased), assess your level of feelings.

Develop a plan: Weigh options, pros and cons ,and strategies of change.

Act on your plan: Hide provocative, inflammatory comments; block intentional hurting comments; and, take a break from chatting or stay away from Facebook for a decided time.

Evaluate your success: Take a moment to look back and reassess the level of your discomfort on the same scale.

Repeat: Review your process every few months and make adjustments as needed.

Remember to always treat and protect yourself as if you are treating and protecting the most precious person in your life: your child, your significant other, family member or a dear friend.

For more inspiration on this subject, check out this video from Higher Perspective