Mental Health Tips in the Age of the Internet

Originally published August 2019

I love the Internet. Reliable Wi-Fi is a close third after food and shelter. I got my first dial up connection shortly after I hit double-digit ages, and have been online every day since. As what the net had to offer became more advanced, so too came some less than ideal accompaniments. From the recent Momo hoax, to depressing news articles, to cyber bullying, to anything in between, it can be hard to stay positive when your Facebook feed is full of fake news and foolishness.

If you find yourself getting bogged down by being online, here are a few tips you could try:

  • Log out of social media.

    Sharing the most inane minutiae of our days has been normalized. The best way I’ve heard social media described is comparing someone else’s highlight reel to your behind-the-scenes extended cut. It’s easy to feel jealous at your 9 to 5 when Instagram Influencer Isla is at glamorous tropical adventure #401 of the year. So, to combat that feeling of inadequacy that might rear its ugly head, log out of all your accounts at regular intervals, or delete them altogether if you’re feeling really bold.

  • Take a break from YouTube.

    The Capulets vs. the Montagues, Batman vs. the Joker, Republicans vs. Democrats. There are many warring factions in the YouTube streets, and some hateful content creators who make a living being mean. YouTube also features bloggers hawking the latest “you gotta get this!” product promising the whole world if you buy it. Maintain your sanity by limiting how much you watch, and be wary of who you’re giving your clicks to.

  • Ditch the gossip arenas.

    Everyone loves a juicy bit of gossip, especially when someone else is the subject. But sipping the hottest tea and rumor-spreading at length can lead to feelings of sadness, more so in person, but online too. Reduce the negative energy that surrounds you and allow the tea to get cold rather than pouring a cup for someone else, even online.

  • Cut back on online shopping.

    Amazon Prime, Sephora Flash, and retailers offering next-day delivery are preying on the ever-present FOMO (fear of missing out). But let’s be honest, do you really need that 19th lipstick/cute dress/whatever your vice is? Impulse buying is alive and well, but don’t fall victim to it, even if the swatch/silhouette/discount is super enticing.

  • Quit bringing your phone to bed.

    Our phones are a modern marvel – it’s our alarm clock, dictionary, calculator, camera, you name it. If you need something done, your phone can do it or get someone else to help. The phone’s most prolific power is that of distraction. Instead of shaving another 30 minutes off precious sleep, set your alarm and leave it on the other side of your room, to prevent unnecessary browsing before bed.

What Internet tips do you use to keep happy? Let us know in the comments!

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