While the Internet and social media can be a wealth of support for coping with depression, here are some ways to avoid pitfalls:
Visit reputable websites
Seek out credible sites with helpful information. Mental health organizations offer tips on treatments, supports and programs, as well as publications and research. Some allow you to sign up for newsletters or watch videos, while others offer perspectives on depression from both consumers and experts. You can also trust sites that end in “.gov” (government agencies) and “.edu” (universities).
Stay offline when you’re at your lowest
While reputable online communities can be helpful, when you’re in a deep depression, seek out people you know and trust (including mental health professionals), says Toronto psychiatrist Carolyn Boulos, MD. The Internet can’t replace that kind of support.
Watch what you say and who you say it to
Engage in online conversations only with people who are positive. When someone posts an inappropriate or negative comment, resist typing a response. Nothing good can come from entering into an online fight, especially since it has nothing to do with you. By wading into the argument you will only get aggravated and anxious. Also, remember that what goes on the Internet, stays on the Internet—forever.
Monitor your usage
It can be tempting to retreat to the computer when overwhelmed by depression. And with smartphones making online access easier, it’s all too easy to constantly check in with online friends and favorite websites at the expense of daily responsibilities and sleep. Yet several studies have linked excessive computer time and social media use to symptoms of depression and anxiety.
1. Watch the clock: give yourself a daily “online allowance”—the amount of time you can spend on the computer—and stick to it; 2. Establish goals for offline activities: these goals can be as simple as washing your hair on a given day so that you don’t spend all your time online; 3. Try a technology fast: pick a day and set aside anything with a screen, suggests Gregory L. Jantz, PhD, author of Hooked: The Pitfalls of Media, Technology and Social Networking. Are you able to control the impulse to be tethered to technology? Observe your reactions and determine whether they are healthy or contributing to feelings of depression and anxiety.
via Esperanza – Hope To Cope
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