post-election blues? Want to celebrate your candidateís win
without someone bringing you down? You know you could stay off
your social-media accounts to keep your pulse low, but if youíre
like many of us, you canít cut the cord completely.
some tips from Seattle-based mental-health counselor Julene
Weaver and other social-media experts for setting boundaries
that may help you steer clear of the most provocative posts
and unchecked rumors.
for yourself whether you really need to log in. Perhaps youíd
rather listen to music. It may be healthier for you to avoid
disturbing news and videos for a few days and thatís OK,
try calling an old friend, going outside, exercising or
playing a video game. If you still want to spend time on your
electronic devices, try prioritizing which sites are important
to you, set a time limit and log off when done.
get on and scan and scan. Set boundaries about what you will
say and stick to them," Weaver said. "Evaluate what
is important for your mental health and have the courage to
four questions she asks clients to answer as they strive to
create social-media buffers.
do you allow in?
how long you will watch or listen to the news, said Weaver. A
half hour, an hour a day, or in a week? Make a decision and
try setting an alarm and then abiding by it. For those who are
committed to getting their news fix, psychotherapist Philip
Cushman suggests seeking balance by finding a well-written,
well-reported article by someoneís whose views oppose yours.
"Itís good to read things that help us think about, and
try to understand, the other side."
skip what you know will be a disturbing image or video on your
Facebook feed? Acknowledge and accept that some people matter
more to you than others. Donít respond to views you donít
agree with. If someone gloats, ignore them. And remember, itís
perfectly fine, good even, to quietly unfollow or unfriend
people who say things that raise your blood pressure. Why are
you holding on? Let them go!
should you keep in?
are a person who has trouble letting go of disturbing thoughts
and images, Weaver advises logging in briefly and then setting
a goal to interact positively and "create a wave of
micro-kindnesses" to offset the constant negativity by,
for example, "liking" othersí posts, sharing
inspiration and encouragement, posting a picture of something
beautiful. "Let people know you are compassionate,"
must share on political or contentious matters, do so in a
calm and neutral tone and present evidence-based and accurate
OK to release and whatís the best way to release it?
says when she decides to let go of something distressing, such
as the rancor and bitterness thatís been the hallmark of
this election, itís easier to do so after sheís taken a
walk and interacted pleasantly with others. "Anything
that lets me feel the flow of positive energy helps, like
seeing a baby or a cute dog," she said.
getting involved in a constructive causes can be liberating,
Weaver said. She suggests sending cards to people, signing
petitions and getting involved in groups that take political
thought. Before you start worrying about something that hasnít
happened, think about how rumors and false stories spread on
Twitter and Facebook faster than they can be verified.
to First Draft News, a guide to navigating media from
discovery to verification, "rumors" that are true
are resolved generally within two hours while it takes closer
to 14 hours for a false claim to be debunked online.
have found that tweets reporting unverified rumors are
retweeted more often, therefore, spread further and more
quickly than truths.
addition, according to First Draft, there is a "small
industry of fake news websites which publish fake content on a
daily basis, aimed at generating and monetizing web traffic.
While fact-checking is a growing field, it still produces less
content on average than the fakers. It canít keep up."
itís wise to verify information with what you consider to be
a credible news source, whether thatís Snopes.com, The
Seattle Times , The Washington Post, or The Wall Street
Journal, before you retweet or freak out.
yet, just wait a day and see what shakes out.