Social media feeds can directly impact our mental wellbeing. They lift our spirits with a clever meme, validate our moral views with a well-timed post and make us feel part of a community but all those positives also have negatives that go along with them. Our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds can leave us feeling drained, isolated, anxious, angry and even a bit deflated. And while “digital detox” is a popular concept most of us justify constantly looking at our devices on staying informed but much of the time we reach for our phones or tablets is to escape our reality. Social media is a blessing and a curse wrapped up in one. Here are some positive suggestions honing a social media feed that gives good vibes.
Feed the algorithm
Those algorithms are there for a reason. They compile and analyze all the data from accounts and brands you follow and interact with. This means that you can begin to choose the content you’d like to see (or not see) in your feed by making some decisions about who you’re following and what you’re liking. After enough of these changes your feed will dynamically begin to show you more of the things you care about.
Facebook: Unfollow, unlike or unfriend the people and pages that trigger you or cause unnecessary stress. After that you can further customize the experience of your feed by joining groups that interest you and hiding post and ads that don’t mesh with you.
Instagram: Again, unfollow the accounts that aren’t bringing you value and in turn follow accounts that do. There are plenty of Instagram accounts that spread knowledge, activism and the occasional funny meme—select accounts that align with your values. On Instagram’s explore page you can go to any post that you don’t really want to be there, select the three dots at the top right of the post and select “not interested”. Also, be social and interact with the accounts you love to see (you can find us @gustoandco) by commenting and liking posts that speak to you and Instagram will serve up more posts like those.
Twitter: If there are hashtags that you do not want to see you can mute them by going to settings and privacy -> Content preferences -> Safety and tap “Muted”. You can add any words that you don’t want to see in your feed. To further fix your feed you can remove the ads you dislike by tapping the arrow in the corner and selecting one of the options it provides.
Podcast your news
Start a daily news habit and drop the excuse that you’re looking at your phone to stay informed on current events by subscribing to your favorite news outlet’s podcast. We love NPR’s Up First because it’s uploaded early in the a.m. and short and to the point— if you’re looking for a bit more breadth then try The New York Time The Daily.
Use your intuition
Don’t feel guilty for unfollowing or unfriending people whose posts and shares make you feel instantly triggered. Social media and the virtual world has become such a part of our lives that we sometimes don’t realize that we can still interact with people in real life but not on social media. However, many times those people aren’t people that we see on a daily or even yearly basis so you may want to ask yourself why you are still following someone whose post make you upset?
Set a time limit
If you’re having some trouble reducing your scroll habit you can use tools on your phone to limit your access to the apps and websites that you visit for your social fix. There are third party apps that you can use for this, but first you can try Screen Time on your iPhone and Digital Wellbeing on your android. Both are included in the phone and don’t require any download. Just go to your settings to get started.