Social media has changed our lives in so many ways. We used to want privacy, now we go out of our way to make every aspect of our lives public and want to share it. Whether we like it or not there is little to escaping it. Every day we check to see what our friends and even total strangers are doing and what they are posting about.
We should all be aware of the scrolling repetitive affect of looking through the likes of Insatgram and Facebook, especially on our phones. This can put us in a form of trance, where we switch off from the outside world and focus our full attention on one point, becoming completely absorbed. Being in this natural state, lowers our guard and makes us more suggestible to new ideas and new beliefs. These may be positive or negative, usually depending on what frame of mind we are in to start with. This is even more apparent in the morning and evenings when we are easily put into a trance and simultaneously, our prime time for our social media activity.
If we are feeling vulnerable and looking for an escape from our thoughts this is actually the very worst time to look on such sites. To be flooded with so much information, especially when our guard is down and our critical faculty is lowered, we tend to just absorb all that is infront of us without the ability to make rational judgements. The result to this, is we take most of this information to be correct and we are respecting and admiring those who have simply built a false reality. We are in a sense allowing these people to brain wash us by the very essence of this platform. We are taking nutrition, fitness and life advice from people who may not be necessarily qualified and making social comparisons based upon everything we see.
Feelings of inadequacy, low self worth and feelings of being left out are more apparent in young people than ever before. Science has found a clear link between anxiety and depression and social media use.
What is also worth noting is the pressure many of us feel to maintain our ‘social online image’. This is also creating great unhappiness and it can feel like a vicious circle that has no end. Keeping up an appearance can cause pressure some simply find too hard to maintain. This can lead to feelings of inadequacies and fuel extreme methods of weight control undertaken by numerous ‘fitness’ bloggers.
As I have mentioned before the first steps to peace and happiness is to stop comparing yourself to others. Social media is great for inspiration, to keep in touch and to share information but if you find it creating or triggering any kind of negative or self comparative thoughts it could be a sign to stop looking for a while.
Social media is popular because it is addictive. The time wasting nature of the platform may cause distress and lead to a decrease in productivity. Being mindful not to look on these platforms when we are feeling low and also limiting the time we spend consciously online can limit the impact these sites have on our lives. By doing this we focus more on the now and what we are doing in the moment, as opposed to any one else, ultimately making us more present .
When we start living in the moment and stop comparing our lives to others we allow ourselves to appreciate what we already have. Additionally, when we stop looking for the approval of others, our happiness is no longer based on something that could easily be taken away.
This is when we truly can be happy.