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If You Don’t Like Texting, Here’s Some Good News For You

If You Don’t Like Texting, Here’s Some Good News For You

People who text frequently are more shallow, hedonistic, and do not strive towards moral goals, a new study shows.

The study was the result of an undergraduate thesis project conducted by Logan Annisette. The results were published in the article “Social media, texting, and personality: A test of the shallowing hypothesis“, which appeared in the February edition of the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

Kathryn Lafreniere, coordinator of the psychology undergraduate honors thesis program, says Annisette found a strong correlation between frequent texting and image-related concerns. Frequent texters were seen to strive towards goals related to appearance and hedonism.

“Where goals related to morality—like living life with genuine integrity and leading an ethical and principled life—those were negatively related,” Dr. Lafreniere says. “People espousing those ideals texted and used social media less frequently.”

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Texting participants did not appear to value or undertake self-reflection

Annisette and Lafreniere asked undergraduate students to rank dozens of life goals according to their significance to the individual student. What they found was that students who engaged in regular texting and social media normally valued things to do with image and hedonism. For example, they wrote: “I want to achieve the look I’ve always been after” or “I want to have an exciting lifestyle.”

The texting participants were less concerned with goals that related to morality and did not appear to value or undertake self-reflection.

The researchers cautioned that texting and social media involvement could make it more difficult for students to have meaningful friendships and could also have a negative effect on student’s grades.

“Whether it becomes an issue that needs to be dealt with or not is a matter of debate. But it’s an issue that demands our concern and poses a need for additional research,” said Annisette.

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Social Media might lead to shallow thinking

Lafreniere voiced concern over the fact that many of the students were receiving news about current events through social media.

“If [social media] is the way people are getting all their information about current events, that’s kind of a recipe for shallow thinking about that event,” said Lafreniere.

She said that this could lead to a superficial understanding of the world around us.

“One wonders if people are looking at headlines without clicking on the article and looking at anything more nuanced. It could be setting up a cycle where people are taking shortcuts to deep thinking about important topics in the world.”

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The Study

Annisette gained his inspiration for the study from the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-nominated book The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, a technology and culture critic. Carr proposed that short bursts of texting resulted in shallow thought and a decrease in the amount one engages in daily reflection.

In all, 149 students participated in the study. The students were asked to rank the importance of nearly 60 life goals. The breadth and subject matter of the questions ranged dramatically from “I want to have a really good sex life” to “I want to find a real purpose and meaning in life.”

Students were also presented with a “reflection questionnaire.” This questionnaire required them to agree or disagree with statements like “I love exploring my inner self” or “Contemplating myself isn’t my idea of fun.”

Reflections

Anisette notes that “I don’t find (social media) inherently evil or dangerous or problematic, but I argue that it’s not the best use of our time.”

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But Lafreniere believes that if you are texting continuously or always checking your social media accounts, you can probably afford to take a break.

“We want people to be more deeply reflective and take the time necessary to do that,” she said.

“People have to break that cycle of over-engagement with social media or texting,” she said. “If they’re always kind of looking at their phone they may be missing something, some deeper experiences that aren’t as shallow.”

Featured photo credit: Positive Moms via positivemomsmagazine.com

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Rebecca Beris

Rebecca is a wellness and lifestyle writer at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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