Have you noticed negativity spreading like the plague lately? It comes through our smartphones, computers and other devices every time we open up a social media page like Facebook or Twitter.
If you're not careful, you can catch that negativity too; it's highly contagious.
There have been negativity outbreaks over numerous things; the biggest offenders are usually discussions on politics or religion. But, they often happen for far more ridiculous reasons as well- parenting topics, health care (vaccinations anyone?) and who can forget the "what color is the dress?" controversy?
Friendships get ruined; family relationships become strained. Things are said and misinterpreted and recovering from negativity becomes rather difficult.
How can you keep your positive immune system strong enough to ward off the negativity plague?
Here are 8 suggestions:
1. Just keep scrolling
See something you don't like on social media? Scroll past it. You don't have to read, comment, like, repost or re-tweet it. If you linger too long, you could not only get infected with negativity, you could spread the disease.
Don't dwell on it, just keep moving.
2. Avoid confrontation
Just because you disagree with someone, doesn't mean you have to say it publicly. Once you do say something, you can't always take it back, and will likely regret it.
Having a war of words, especially online, is a bad idea. You can't hear tone or see body language cues through text. This leads to misinterpretations, hurt feelings and can kill relationships. If you value a relationship and any of your dignity, just don't say anything.
3. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all
Really. Just keep your mouth closed (or typing fingers still) if what is about to come out is not nice, kind or necessary. Instead, think of something positive to say. Otherwise, see suggestions one and two.
4. Unfriend, unfollow, block or hide
This positivity saver is like the bleach of social media. If you have a "friend" who is habitually posting things that get you feeling riled up, you can fix that by simply unfriending or unfollowing them.
For really intense situations, you can block someone, but use caution. Sometimes, taking such a step can create more problems, drama, and thus, negativity. A better approach may just be to hide the posts you don't want to see or change the settings so this person does not show up in your news feed.
5. Don't be easily offended
Believe it or not, being offended is a choice. You can disagree with someone without getting offended.
Also, give people the benefit of the doubt. We're all learning from our own experiences and opinions can change as we see the world differently. Being offended by someone's learning experience (or lack thereof) only hurts you. Besides, how often is someone tempted to become offended by something YOU say?
6. Quarantine yourself from social media
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is avoid social media altogether. Take a breather and refresh yourself so you're more available to focus on what's really important in life.
7. Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate
A lot of the negative spewing that shows up on social media is about something someone finds offensive, wrong or are outraged about. Stop posting about things you dislike. Instead, find the opposite.
Seek to share the things that you love, makes you happy, and will help you and others feel good. Tell us what you love instead of what you hate.
8. Spread positivity
No one has a perfect life and things don't always go according to plan. But, there is always something good happening in life.
The best antidote for negativity is positivity. Share the happy things in your life. If you choose to share about your terrible, awful, no-good, very bad day, at least do so with a positive spin: "Tomorrow will be better;" "That's why God gave us chocolate;" "We can't have good days without the bad. Good days are coming."
Social media is what we make it. Don't get infected with negativity. You can stop the spread of it by avoiding online arguments and hatred.
Share doses of positive, funny, light-hearted and loving messages. Be the good on social media.