SOCIAL MEDIA

How I Customised My Instagram to Support My Mental Health

Personalise your online engagement to work for your wellness. Otherwise, the attention economy will sap your energy.

Photo by Natalie Grainger on Unsplash

We live in the information age where every company applies all psychology tactics to get you to try their product. If that’s not enough, there are even ad campaigns and regular flooding in your IG feed too.

I won’t go into getting rid of ads in your feed because that includes manual hiding for each ad. It is tedious and social media is heaven for ads too.

Instead, I’ll share how I customised my IG feed to provide information that improves my mental health by providing me inspiration and calmness.

You’ll see how simple these steps are when you sit and apply them only once.

#1. Control doomscrolling the easy way.

You know the draining effect doomscrolling has on your mental health.

Seeing people showing off their perfect life makes us feel insecure that we’re not living our life out loud. It turns out the photos you see are just a snippet of an extensive backstory that no one wants to tell you because it is lacklustre.

Instead of comparing my status to someone else who doesn’t have a similar experience to mine, I’ve customised my feed to work for me.

Whenever I open IG:

  1. It motivates me to go back with the help of quotes-only posts,
  2. It gives me writing ideas,
  3. Tips from the accounts I follow for financial wisdom,
  4. The last activity is being the knowledge giver by sharing my writing and fitness journey for my IG community.

I follow so fewer accounts on IG that within a minute of scrolling, I see this calming screenshot:

Screenshot of Author’s IG home. The latest post is from thegoodquote.

It gives serenity to see this update that it throws doomscrolling out of the equation altogether.

#2. Remove noise from your feed.

Physical disarray leads to mental clutter. The same goes for your digital life.

Treat your phone like a mini-home and keep it clean however you can.

When it comes to IG, I apply these strategies:

  1. No alerts in my phone’s notification centre
  2. Follow only two accounts: friends and the accounts that deliver the inspiration you want, e.g. motivational quotes or educational content. Emphasis on educational content because we all need more of it.
  3. Mute stories from accounts that are nothing but information porn.

The third one is what I’ve been doing for the last 30 days. It has proved beneficial for me because, according to psychology, red is the colour that makes us want to click.

It’s because we perceive red as a danger sign. Red also penetrates our eyes the most because of the highest frequency on the visible electromagnetic spectrum.

Now you know the reason why your notification badges on your apps are also red ( exclusively on iPhones, I don’t know about others ).

Final words

We can blame the perils of social media all we want, but it eventually boils down to our perception of how we want to use every stimulus to work for our wellness — online and offline alike.

I’m done being a mindless consumer on the internet. That’s why I started on Medium last year. In June 2021, I started on Twitter:

Author’s Twitter

Once I realised that IG is my launchpad where I share most of my creative work, I knew I had to customise it to infect me with positivity.

If you also have a love-hate kinda relationship with IG, consider these two tactics to improve your well-being:

  • Mute stories that are plain trash and get rid of the red-pink-purple-circle.
  • Customise your feed to get educational content.

If you want to receive more stories like this, you might like my lifelong learning newsletter.

Sanjeev is a writer, mentor and recovering shopaholic from India. He writes about lifelong learning, personal growth, and positive psychology. When he’s not busy with his muse, he’s sweating either in a workout or emulating outdoor games in his home because of the pandemic. He also chronicles his writing and fitness journey on Instagram. He shares daily inspiration with #ThoughtForTheDay on Twitter.

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Sanjeev Yadav

Sanjeev Yadav

Writer • Mentor • Recovering Shopaholic • IITR 2019 • ✍🏼 Personal Growth, Positive Psychology & Lifelong Learning• IG: sanjeevai • List: sanjeevai.ck.page

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