Photo courtesy of F1uffster/Flckr 

Are you starting to see our local News Feed fill up with negative moods and depressing stories lately? There’s a few reasons for this, and a few possible solutions.

Scientists have discovered that seasonal depression and the economy are two of the largest factors that are affecting the way people express themselves on the popular social network.

According to Christy Hamilton, coordinator of the university health services “If it can’t be associated with a normal change in life, we do see increased numbers in depression during the winter months,” she said. And it also may seem that most people believe that our best economic days are behind us and the real emotion they are feeling is stress. “When we are overworked and still are having a hard time paying the bills we can’t help but vent to our friends or lay blame on others.”

Casper is known for it’s long, drawn out winters. And while our unemployment isn’t nearly as bad as other parts of the nation, we are still feeling the anxiety of having to work harder to make ends meet. It’s a toxic combination that is spilling out all over Facebook with harsh comments against others or towards themselves, sad or thought provoking photos, and arguments that are displayed for everyone else to see.

“Negative attitudes are nothing new on Facebook, you can find it in any city around America”, said John Rhyman, behavioral therapist at the University of Washington, “however, you might be seeing it more so in your area in the recent months due to the fact Facebook has only just recently (in the past two years) been adopted as an everyday form of communication and users in (our) network are starting to get comfortable with sharing their feelings. What they don’t seem to realize is that now rather than sharing their emotions behind closed doors, they are now communicating in a wide open arena so now the negativity spreads much like a virus.”

So how do we put a stop to all these Negative Nancy’s, and keep yourself from becoming one? Here’s a few tips:

Hide people on your feed- You don’t have to unfriend a depressing person, just hide them on Facebook so you don’t have to see their bad attitude.

Get Out- Even if it’s cold outside, the sun still feels good and can brighten your mood. If that isn’t enough, invest in a happy light for your office and home. Or perhaps spend your lunch break in a tanning bed.

Exercise- Step away from the computer, and hop on a treadmill. Just 30 minutes a day can melt away your stress and give your mood the boost it needs.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all- Remember, your mood can affect not just you, but everyone in your Facebook network. If you just have to vent, do it away from the public eye and perhaps seek the help from a close friend or family member.