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Are You Ignoring the Important People?

Are You Ignoring the Important People?
    IGNORE by wannaoreo from flickr

    Do you read people’s e-mail auto-replies? They can be pretty interesting. In the last few weeks, I’ve had not one, but two friends respond to my e-mail with an auto-reply that says something to the tune of: “I’m traveling to A, or doing B, and I’m not available to answer your message right now. Please don’t be offended. I’m not even reading mail from my family!”

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    Work Will Always Be There

    In my humble opinion, this is not acceptable. What could these people possibly be doing that necessitates ignoring their family members? If it is work related, I call foul. Folks, work will always be there. When you finish this big project, another will soon appear to take its place. But family members are only with us a short time on earth. It’s a cliché, but somehow people still don’t get it: at the end of your life, will you regret not working more or not being there for your loved ones more?

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    They Should Make Your To Do List

    It’s critical that you make an effort to respond to and show interest in the people closest to you. If this means they get a spot on your to do list so that you can remind yourself to keep in touch, then so be it. If you are a productive individual, I’m sure that you allot certain times each day to answer e-mail.  Your family members and friends should be addressed at that time. Do not allow weeks to go by, or god forbid, not get back to them at all.

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    The Calendar Box Approach

    Here’s a strategy I use that you might find helpful. I have an annual calendar – you know, the kind with the boxes. In each Sunday box, I list two close friends and family members who I plan to call. I also note in the boxes if someone important calls me and I was able to connect with them. The calendar box view lets me see if it has been a month or more since I’ve talked with someone meaningful to me.

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    “I’ll Be Back Soon”

    I often hear from frazzled people: “But this is just a really busy period in my life. It’s going to be over soon. I know so-and-so will understand if I’m off the grid for a while.” This may be true, but the danger is that you will make being missing in action a habit. Your loved ones may understand, but only to a point. Eventually, they will figure out that you are prioritizing everything ahead of them, and they will be hurt and irritated. The only thing that makes long-term neglect of relationships okay is a personal tragedy, and I hope nothing like death, serious illness, or divorce happens to you all this year.

    Time-Suck is the Eye of the Beholder

    If it seems like a pain to check in with people now, just think about what it was like to live in the nineteenth century or earlier. Those people had to hand-write letters and mail each one individually! Many of them still corresponded with geographically-dispersed loved ones every day. Now, it takes five seconds to dash off a happy birthday message to someone on Facebook. It couldn’t be easier. It also couldn’t be more important.

    I know that some people are reading this post and saying, “Wow, it never crossed my mind that I’m neglecting my loved ones because I’m so crazed at work.” That doesn’t give you a free pass. Remember that the key to a good life is to focus on what matters, and put the rest second. By being strategic in how you choose to do this, you won’t mix them up.

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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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