How to Harness the Positives of Social Media

Behavioral Health Behavioral Health
How to Harness the Positives of Social Media
One day in the future, sociologists will look back at this time in history and try to understand the social implications surrounding a myriad of complex problems we’re now facing, according to Princeton House therapist Kristy Champignon, LPC, LMHC, PMH-C, ACS.

“Not only are we lacking regular connections, but we even miss arguing and letting out frustration with people face to face,” she says. “Social media has unfortunately become a place to vent the pent-up frustrations a lot of us are experiencing, and people are going to the mat over the smallest things.”

For behavioral health providers with patients who want to maintain social media connections yet sometimes feel triggered by its use, Champignon offers an effective solution: the creation of a social empowerment profile.

The goal is to create a space comprised of useful resources and people who:

Have common interests. It’s validating to connect with those who have similar challenges or goals.

Keep things balanced. Spending too much time with those who are overly negative or lack hope can be triggering.

Offer ideas and resources. This is most helpful when the suggestions are attainable. For a struggling parent, an effective idea might be a craft your kids can do with items in your kitchen, rather than a suggestion to hire a nanny.

Keep it real. On the other hand, things are not always as perfect as people’s curated pictures can lead us to believe. Everyone has ups and downs, and real life falls somewhere in the middle.

Put things in perspective. The use of humor is a great way to achieve perspective, and laughter can be therapeutic for everyone.

Uplift and support others. These qualities help provide motivation and validation.

Rather than trying to retrofit an existing social media account by deleting friends or followers, Champignon suggests using an alternate email address to create a second “empowerment account” on the social media platform of choice. In this way, the platform is no longer an unfiltered, unbridled jumble of information—users can compartmentalize their account for exactly when and how they want to use it.

Looking at an empowerment profile at the end of the day, Champignon suggests, is a great time to help people shift from a doing/problem-solving mode to a more relaxed state where they can tend to their own thoughts and feelings, all while satiating the desire to scroll. This approach also creates a better space for sleep, which is a key element of mental health.

“I see it as creating a digital oasis that removes the clutter and conflict,” explains Champignon. “In a time when we turn to social media more often for connections, we all could use a sacred space that is empowering and fulfilling rather than draining.”

Article as seen in the Winter 2021 issue of Princeton House Behavioral Health Today.