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5 Ways to Support a Friend Who Is Getting Over a Breakup

5  Ways to Support a Friend Who Is Getting Over a Breakup

It can be difficult to know what to say when a friend is going through a breakup, but it is important that you show your support in any way that you can. Being present is the first step to being there for your friend.

Here are a few other ways that you can help out a friend in need.

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Allow your friend to feel what they need to

Every person handles breakups differently and it is important to remember whatever your friend is feeling is a valid emotion. Whether they are angry, sad or display reckless behavior, it is important as their friend not to try to dismiss their behavior or feel it is your responsibility to always cheer them up.

The most important thing that you can do as their friend is to stay by their side and clearly state that you will support them no mater what.

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Give yourself space if needed

It is also important to make sure that you know your limits as to what you can give your friend; after all, you are only human. A friend in need can be taxing on a friendship if you ignore your own needs, so it’s important to not feel guilty when saying no to certain things. When you need to dedicate some time to yourself, make sure to do so clearly, but gently tell your friend you need to take care of some personal things.

Afterwards, let them know when you are available to hang out again, so that your friend can look forward to your company and also so there is no miscommunication between you two.

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Attend to the details

One of the best ways you can be helpful is by making sure certain things in your friend’s life are taken care of. One of the biggest ways you can assist your friend with is to bring food over. Whether it is a pot of homemade soup or a pizza you have picked up, good food truly does help nourish a broken heart.

Other things that you can help with are walking their dog, picking-up their dry cleaning and helping sort through their mail. After a breakup, the smallest tasks can seem burdensome and being able to have someone else take care of those details for a while is a godsend.

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Encourage your friend to be active

After a breakup, it is easy to want to stay at home in your pajamas on the couch and binge watch Netflix. While this may be part of the grieving process for your friend, it is important that you also encourage him or her to get some fresh air. Start out by suggesting a walk around the neighborhood. Even a 30 minute walk can do wonders for your heartbroken friend, offering a change of scenery. If your friend is up to it, take a day trip somewhere that you both do not normally go. Heading to the beach or a nearby state park can be a great temporary distraction for your friend for the day and help clear their mind.

Indulge in an activity that your friend enjoys

Does your friend enjoy basketball? Take them to a local game to cheer on their favorite team. Does your friend have a sweet tooth? Treat them to a chocolate fudge sundae. During a breakup, it is important to remind a friend of their passions and help them remember that they can feel happy once again. Avoid surprising your friend and instead ask them first about whether they want to do a certain activity. They may have a bad association with certain places or things that reminds them of their ex that you are not aware of.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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