Is your social media activity simply a fondness for sharing, or is the frequency of your posts starting to feel like an exercise in narcissism? Good news—when done in small doses, it can simply add a feel-good boost to your day.

Does this sound like you? You post a pic on your Facebook or Instagram; say an adorable shot of your toddler playing in the kitchen cupboards, or a selfie on a particularly good hair day. Only to check at 30 minute intervals to see how many “likes” you’ve received. Does your mood drop a little when it’s only a handful? Or does your heart do a little leap when you realize the number of “likes” is rapidly increasing, and your old high school crush is one of them?

So why this need for affirmation? And it’s not just for those who love attention. Even many who wither away from the spotlight seem to experience a thrill from a little social media love.

According to a study published in Psychological Science, people who suffer from low self-esteem feel more comfortable sharing things on Facebook. And believe it or not, it’s not always about narcissism. There’s actually a feel-good boost that comes along with the attention. A study from Milan’s IULM University explained it simply—“Facebook feels good”. Attention from status updates and sharing of pics and links can create an emotionally positive response, therefore bringing us back again and again.

Hold back from posting every meal on social media.

Hold back from posting every meal on social media.

But the trick is to be strategic when it comes to how much personal info you’re actually sharing. Don’t go randomly “liking” every tidbit that comes your way. Hold back from posting breakfast, lunch and dinner shots, no matter how healthy your oatmeal looks. And resist the urge to have the number of friends to rival a Kardashian. Remember the old adage, “it is better to give then receive”? Not in this case. In the world of social media, the trick is to receive more than you give. By receiving more likes, tags and shares than you give, you feel a sense of community and support. Give more than you get and you may take the risk of feeling let down a little bit. So if you find Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat are making you a little down in the dumps, perhaps time to be a bit more selective, scale back a bit, and let your friends come to you!


stacy-rinella-squareThis post was written by Stacy Rinella. Stacy is a freelance writer based in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her husband and two sons.
Headshot: Paul Buceta