Some Facebook New Years’ Reflections…

So I am a super busy person, but I love Facebook because I can go in and read my friend’s (and face it – some people I rarely ever talk to but am curious about) tidbits about their lives. As a psychology buff, I love getting into people’s heads, seeing if they’re authentic, if they are at a place that I have visited, if they have nice pictures, et cetera.

Sometimes I have felt down about checking my Facebook and seeing other people who seem to have it all. Then I remember: They only post things they are happy about. Ever read that article that went viral about the 8 types of Facebook friends you have on your timeline? I hate those people who are constantly trying to “one up” each other – of course I love sharing good news with my friends, but I don’t do it in a menacing way. Life is about striking a balance. We can’t always be happy or have great things happen to us. Some of my postings have been down, others up or just neutral – I feel they are authentic to the person I am at the time.

I’m just tired of reading and seeing these articles about how looking at Facebook increases your depression. Doesn’t it only increase your depression if you let it? If the world was all the same and the same “great” things kept on happening to everyone, how would we be able to react to depression, darkness, and devastation? Besides, don’t you ever wonder if those people may be hiding their deep, dark secrets underneath the facade of euphoria?

In spite of all this, it has made me wonder: Can Facebook actually be used to motivate and inspire? Recently I showed my students (yes, I teach, so many hats that I wear) a movie by Dr. Amen about brain function. In the movie, there are lots of great tidbits about how to keep your brain healthy and they mostly tie into the body’s health. I have two main reasons to keep my body healthy – I’m about to get married (wanna look great for those pics!) and I’m not getting any younger. In the video, Dr. Amen also says that surrounding yourself with other health-conscious people is a sure bet to get fit. I have been taking a ton of exercise classes and checking into the yoga, pilates, parks, and class locations via Facebook. I love seeing the “likes” on my postings and it inspires me to “like” their fitness postings and plan fitness invites as well as keep up my own regimen.

Not only am I being motivated by the impending date of my wedding, but I’m being inspired by my other friends who make great strides every day on Facebook to get healthier as well.

Take that, you pessimistic people who say New Year’s Resolutions don’t stick and that Facebook is a waste of time :).

What do you think? Does Facebook promote motivation by encouraging friends who have the same interests to stay accountable to their goals?

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