Barton Goldsmith: Can Social Media Help You Heal?

By Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As therapist Barton Goldsmith points out, “When a lot of people are pulling for you, it creates an energy and strength that you can tap into and help yourself get better.” So while there is plenty of criticism of social media lately, Goldsmith suggests it can also be used for good…like praying for someone who is sick.

Tribune News Service

A lot of people have made social media a part of their daily lives. It is a place to connect with family and friends as well as to promote your business and see what’s going on in the world. It is also a place where you can get yourself into trouble and have your feelings hurt by total strangers, so we all need to learn to be careful.

That being said, using social media has an additional benefit that I’ve only recently discovered.

More and more people are posting pictures of themselves and family members who are in the hospital healing from something bad enough to put them there. And there is perhaps even greater merit to these postings than we may first realize.

It is well documented that people who are prayed for do heal faster, and I wonder if the “get well soon” thoughts of those who see a friend online may have the same effect. When a lot of people are pulling for you, it creates an energy and strength that you can tap into and help yourself get better.

Yes, there are many problems associated with social media, and we hear a lot about them. Yes, social media does make it easier to live an isolated life, but if you are in a hospital room, social media can save you from some of the loneliness, and lift your spirits, which will help boost your immune system.

Contact through social media not only helps people heal themselves. Social media is also being used to fight many troubles on the planet, such as extreme poverty and hunger, preventable diseases, domestic violence, and more.

So, when I am asked, “Are we better off living in a social media world?” my answer is a resounding yes, and I didn’t always feel that way. Through the years, I have seen the positive sides more and more. I’m not saying the negatives aren’t growing too, but we all have choices of what we tune in to, and I prefer things and people that make me feel better, not angry or worse.

Yes, I’m a blogger and a tweeter, and I post on the main sites daily _ it’s part of my job, but in addition to work, social media allows me to stay in touch with old friends, help some people in need, and use whatever power I have to help to make the world a better place.

No one has to be isolated anymore; help and support are a mouse click away. However, if you are choosing an internet-only lifestyle, it cannot replace the most important part of being human: contact with other humans. Even if you just go to an internet cafe, it’s important to get out of your house and interact with people, or visit a friend in the hospital. Keeping your life balanced in this way will allow you to get the most out of it, and the internet.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”)

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