How many times a day are you checking social media? Do you wake up and check your various accounts immediately?
Come on.... It's just me listening.
Are you scrolling through with a somewhat dejected attitude at the healthy food, perfect models and incredible things happening to everyone else, everyone but you?
Comparison-itis and social media go hand-in-hand. Does feeling inferior and not good enough because of someone else’s post sound familiar?
You’re not alone.
Over 1.8 billion[i] of us interact with social media networks. That’s 25% of the world’s population plugged in and hyperconnected. And these connections are increasingly making us unhappy with over a quarter of us[ii] believing that social media is making us less happy with our lives.
You can include me in this percentage.
Social media isn’t the devil and I’m certainly no stranger to it, though over the past few months I've made a conscious effort to change my interaction habits for the better. I’ve done so for self-preservation, for creativity, for efficiency and for peace of mind too.
Do you remember what it was like pre-instagram? How you went about life before Facebook? I do. I also remember that when I first found out about/saw Facebook, I thought it was really bizarre. Why would you connect with people you barely speak to in reality and then openly share so much of your life with them? How many friends you had became somewhat of a contest and the phrase, "add me on Facebook" was part of the weekend conversation. Bizarre indeed.
However I got right in there with the best of them and in early 2011 when I discovered instagram from a super tech-savvy friend, I fell in love. This was my thing, this I could understand.
Close to 4 years later and almost 3000 images (gulp!) I now operate a largely digital business where social media is integral and a lot of the time, freaking fabulous! It's where I've connected with so many fabulous individuals, met new friends and collaborators and felt inspired time and time again. It's allowed me to continue growing my business without a physical presence and despite the endless hours of hard work behind the scenes, people around the world have been able to simply find and connect with me - that's seriously cool and something I'm very grateful for.
However, so many of us absent-mindedly log in to our social media accounts and I feel that’s the easiest place that we can start to tackle the negative effects of our hyperconnectivity.
In this insanely fast paced world that we live, it feels normal to be occupied. You have a moment where your attention is not needed and what do you do? Pick up your phone of course. Flick through images, tweets and updates feeling more and more disconnected from your actual world by the day.
Theodore Roosevelt famously said,“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
It's this combination of comparison and disconnection that is allowing social media to cause so much unhappiness for us all.
What do we do?
Unfollow and delete the accounts and even friends who you don’t like to follow. It sounds simple though pay attention to how you feel from their updates and make sure that it’s inspired and empowered as opposed to weighed down.
Things aren’t always what they seem
We all post photos when we look our best and update the world when things are going well though how many of us tell the other side of the coin in equal measure? People we admire and celebrities are no different; in fact they are often the worst offenders with public perception at stake so awareness is key here.
Be in your life
The next time that your attention is not needed for something else and you have a little time, resist the urge to use social media instead have a laugh at that instinct and do something that really serves you. I like to call a friend and leave humorous voicemail messages (because let’s face it who has time to answer their phone these days?)
When you're out with friends and family, don't be half-assed about it and have your face in your phone, providing them with only the minimal "ah-huh" and "yeps" along the way. Put the phone down.
Turn off the updates to your phone, don’t log in to the websites and really switch off. Once you break the habit, this step seems so simple so just do it.
Enjoy the time you’ll get back in your life! No doubt feeling happier, more connected and better rested too.