How do you feel when you spend time scrolling through your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds? Do you enjoy social media or is it a source of stress or frustration?
My answers to both of these questions are the same: It depends. But for a while, I couldn't figure out why sometimes spending a few minutes on Instagram, for example, makes me feel uplifted and at other times, I walk away feeling deflated and worse, stressed out.
Then I came across a study that shed some light on the different ways social media was impacting my mood. The study, conducted by researchers at Michigan State University, showed that when participants were more active on Facebook -- they gave advice, showed empathy or support in some way, or connected with people through a group -- demonstrated an increase in their well-being as compared to passive users.
After I read the study I began to pay more attention to what I was actually doing when I was on Facebook or Instagram and I noticed the same effect. When I truly engaged by posting comments, offering suggestions or advice to friends, I felt better. When I simply scrolled endlessly -- and as we often do, compared my life to the shiny, curated photos of my friends' lives on social media -- I felt worse.
My experience and the study make a lot of sense: Feeling connected to others is one of the main foundations for our emotional and physical well-being. So in today's Happier Boost video I invite you to bring that awareness into your use of social media so that the time you spend on it contributes to your well-being rather than detract from it.