Studies show that as many as one in three people who use social media sites such as Facebook, are experiencing feelings of jealousy and envy or even depression and anxiety, after spending time on these sites.
It’s hardly surprising given that it’s rare to find someone posting “bad news”, so the overall impression given is that everyone out there is having a simply wonderful time.
There’s no doubting the feelgood factor that comes with receiving lots of “likes” in response to your latest posting or being inundated with a stream of birthday wishes – even if you don’t know who half the people are.
But in turn, it’s not uncommon for many people to start experiencing feelings of anxiety when they’re not online and it’s been recorded that many people check Facebook before they’ve even got out of bed.
As a therapist, I’m starting to see an increasing number of clients who tell me they feel their lives are being ruined as they feel controlled by Facebook.
Here’s an excerpt from my book “Fix Your Life with NLP”, where I show how I successfully used NLP techniques to help a 24 year old girl get over her compulsion to stalk her ex-boyfriend’s profile:
CASE STUDY – In Love with Facebook
Jessie had recently split up with her boyfriend and was finding it difficult to recover. They had been together for over three years and Jessie was finding it hard to adjust to life on her own. She recalled romantic drinks at the local wine bar, the flowers he used to surprise her with and, more importantly, the plans they’d started making for a future together. The break-up had been unexpected for her.
Whilst friends and family were rallying round trying to help her get over him, she still had one major problem. Each evening when she got home from work, she’d go straight onto her computer to check Facebook. However, catching up with friends also meant getting to see what her ex-boyfriend was up to. However hard she tried, she couldn’t resist the temptation to check his profile and see what he was doing. Particularly upsetting were pictures he’d posted of himself at a recent party. Seeing him having so much fun made the pain much harder to bear.
Friends suggested she delete his profile, making it easier to avoid seeing what he was up to, but she hadn’t quite managed to do this yet. After all, this was the one last link that she had to his life.
Step 1 – Five Moments of Horror:
Jessie had given me a wonderful description of their relationship – the outings and the gifts, but I asked her to think back and tell me whether it had always been like this. Her automatic response was to say ‘yes’, but I asked her to pause and reflect for a moment. Could she remember five times in the past when he’d really upset her?
And so the full story began to tumble out. She could remember the time he promised her a special restaurant meal on her birthday, but then forgot to book a table. After a couple of fruitless hours searching for somewhere to eat, they ended up with fish and chips in the car.
She could remember the time they went to a party and he got really drunk and embarrassing. Not only did he insult a friend but he was also sick in the gutter on the way home. She hated the way he burped every time he drank beer.
He’d borrowed £25 from her and then denied that he’d ever had it when she asked for it back. She remembered the horrible look on his face as he accused her of lying. And she remembered the time when she caught him flirting with the barmaid at the local pub.
As I pointed out to Jessie, the reason why she was finding it so hard to get over him was because she was spending her time looking at the ‘wrong movie’. Running through her mind on a daily basis was a romantic love story with her and her ex-boyfriend in the starring roles. Not only was this a slightly skewed representation of their relationship, it was also preventing her from moving on.
What she should be doing was making a new kind of movie – a horror film – one that was made up of all the worst moments of her time together with him.
So my technique with Jessie was the following:
- Take yourself back to that first moment of horror. See what you saw, hear what you heard and feel how fed up you felt. Run this picture through your mind again and again, making it bigger and turning the colours up brighter.
- Move on to moment number two. And again, run that picture through your mind, doing exactly what you did with the first memory.
- And move on – moment number three. Give it the same treatment, making that image larger and bringing it closer to you.
- Bring moment number four quickly into mind now. Again seeing what you saw, hearing what you heard and feeling how bad this man made you feel.
- And the last moment – run that memory through your mind.
Now take these five separate memories and run them through your mind as if they were all linked up, like a movie. There’s no break between any of these situations – they all merge together. Run this horror movie through your mind, over and over again.
At the end of the technique, I asked Jessie to imagine going home and checking Facebook. How badly would she want to check his profile now?
‘I don’t think I can be bothered,’ she replied.
You can read more about the other techniques that I used with Jessie on page 142 of “Fix Your Life with NLP”.