In our regular mental health and wellbeing spot, we’ve been looking at small little social media settings to help de-toxify parts of life.

Hello and welcome to Mental Health & Wellbeing Matters, our little bit of the Film Stories site where we talk about mental health and wellbeing. If you’ve not read one of these pieces before, it’s a place where we write about things that may be affecting you, us, or people around us. We work on simple rules: not every article we run is going to be of use to everyone, but hopefully across this series, there’s something that’s of use to you. And also, comments are very welcome, and appreciated.

I’ve chatted about social media before here, inevitably, given the impact it tends to have on our mental health. It certainly plays a few tricks with mine. What I’ve suggested before is something I very much practice myself: use the tools that come included to de-toxify your social media feeds.

On Twitter, I block the usual mouthpieces and find my experience there tends to be pretty good. On Facebook, I (very, very rarely) ‘defriend’ people if things have very much gone awry (and people have done that to me too). And there’s a special place in the bin on LinkedIn for ‘motivational’ posts of how someone has magically turned their life around or something. All power to them, but how many carriage returns does a single post need?

But still: the feed of friends of friends tends to pop up sometimes, and as such faces who I’m not too keen on seeing on my timeline pop up. The temptation is there: do I click, and find out what they’re up to now? To see what they’ve been doing since we effectively de-friended?

Or do I walk away, and not give them the space in my head?

The logical answer is the latter. The human answer isn’t always as clear.

But there are tiny little things you can do, I’ve found, that limit how many of these choices you actually have to make. On Facebook, for instance, there’s a little cross you can click on posts, that in theory leads to you seeing fewer of that ilk on your timeline. I click that sometimes. I also use the mute function on Twitter. Two small little tools that make both platforms more tolerable for me, and better for my head.

I’ve yet to find anything to deal with LinkedInItus, but obviously I remain on the search for it.

The ethos of those tricks I try to carry over into everyday life too. What can I do to deny real estate in my head to events, to happenings, to those who aren’t the best for my mental health? I certainly avoid certain situations, and don’t go looking for problems. But I do also try to bring some of that ethos I have from social media into real life. That’s not often a sentence that gets written.

Nothing works perfectly of course, but it doesn’t stop me trying. And I’ve found that every little scrape of negativity I can keep out of my head is generally for the better. Hopefully it works for you too.

This column will return next week…

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