I recently had a conversation with a colleague about Facebook. She was wondering why so many of us continue to use Facebook when it makes so many of us “crazy.” And by crazy I mean: frustrated, sad, unworthy, annoyed, angry, jealous, and/or pissed off. You know what I’m talking about: Facebook use can result in all types of emotions, many of them not so great. For example, spending just a few minutes looking at my Facebook account this morning resulted in the following emotions:
- excitement over a friend’s news that she is pregnant with baby #3
- bewilderment/irritation over a couple distant friends and family member’s persistence in posting potentially offensive religious and political posts
- jealousy over a friend’s pronouncement that she can still fit into her senior prom dress
- revulsion/anger at the NY Times article about junk food science making the rounds in social media
So why do we continue to subject ourselves to this? Do we really need this extra stress in our lives? How do we know if we are “addicted*” to Facebook?
Some important questions to ask ourselves:
- Is my time on Facebook keeping me from fulfilling my other duties in life (taking care of self and/or children, doing my job, etc)
- Does my time or activity on Facebook cause problems at work?
- Does my time or activity on Facebook cause problems in my interpersonal relationships?
- Do I neglect “real” people or responsibilities in order to spend more time on Facebook?
- Does what I read on Facebook have a significant impact on my mood everyday or most days?
- Do I ever lie about my Facebook use, or hide it from others?
If you answered “yes” to more than 2 or 3 of these questions, it sounds like your Facebook use has a pretty huge impact on your daily life. This might not be the best thing for your mental health. Perhaps it’s time to change the way you use social media, and Facebook in particular. Stay tuned for tips on how to cut back on Facebook.
*Please note that Facebook Addiction is not an official diagnosis in the DSM-IV (or V as far as I know). While it is not a “real” diagnosis, over use of Facebook can certainly be detrimental to mental health.