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How I Stopped Letting Social Media Manipulate Me (And Why You Should Do It Too)

How I Stopped Letting Social Media Manipulate Me (And Why You Should Do It Too)

As a blog editor, getting inspirations from different sources including the social media is simply what I do every day. I love reading all the interesting posts and videos on Facebook and looking at the amazing photos on Instagram; they’re all stimulating and can always inspire me the next topics to work on.

But there’s a downside for visiting the social media too often — you somehow get addicted to it easily. One more photo, a few more posts, and maybe a few more videos, and that’s how I’d just keep scrolling down the feed on Facebook at 12am.

It’s not healthy, for my eyes, my brain and my soul. I knew it, but it’s just hard for me to stop checking it so often because it’s really what I needed to do, it’s for my work, and it’s not really taking me that much time…

Well, that’s obviously an excuse.

Because as I was on Facebook, I saw the whereabouts of my friends and the exciting lives they’re leading. I also reacted to different kinds of things like the funny videos, the cute pet images and the latest music videos etc.

I couldn’t help but always craving for the latest updates of everything, and I felt like what others had in their lives were the things that’s missing in mine — that’s when I knew it’s time for a social media detox.

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We get triggered easily by what the social media shows us, leaving us little time to process our emotions, especially the negative ones.

Even though you somehow know that most people only show the world what they want others to know and how they want to be seen in the social media, you can’t help comparing their lives with yours the moment their stories pop up in front of you — being sweet with their partner, hanging out with a bunch of fun friends or traveling around the world.

If those people are your friends, maybe it’s easier to know if the pictures are a lie or not; but a lot of times, we’re following public figures we don’t actually know in person, and we have no idea how these people’s real lives are. That’s when we easily fall into the trap of believing in everything they portray in social media and letting them make us feel bad about ourselves.

Our brain is wired to want to be “in the know”, so we’re fearful of missing out stuff if we’ve got used to knowing everything in the social media.[1]

I guess that’s what happened to my brain when I went on the social media too often. I didn’t want to miss a thing.

The more I wanted to get to know the latest stuff, the more I couldn’t put off my phone to just browse over my Facebook and Instagram. It’s like an addiction and I felt bad about it because I didn’t feel like I was in control of this. I didn’t feel good about it.

Then I remember someone said to me before,

If there’s anything that makes you feel bad, get rid of it. Period.

So I decided to stop being passive about what the social media gave me.

The first step to make me feel better was to get rid of the things (and people) who made me feel bad.

The friends who we never interact with in real life or online, the friends who are just posting too much about their personal life, and the public figures or pages who may just be exaggerating too much of their lives or spreading negativity around, I unfollowed them.

Then, I muted all the social apps’ notifications and hid them inside a folder on the last page of my phone.

Yes, this is what I do:

    The benefit of doing this is that every time when you unlock your phone, you’re on the first page of it and you don’t get the temptation to randomly go over any of the social platforms so easily.

    This really works for me.

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    I also set social media time limits; but instead of just restricting the time of using it, I kept the time without social media interesting.

    Instead of setting rules like 1 hour of social media usage per day or social-media free weekends, I focused more on how to make the time so interesting and fulfilling that I wouldn’t have time to check on the social media.

    Activities like hanging out with friends, talking or dinning with your family, reading a novel or playing sports or playing an instrument almost need your full attention, leaving you no time to go on Instagram or Facebook.

    Whenever I hang out with friends, I put my phone inside my bag and try to enjoy the moments I have with them. And do you know what’s the best part of this? When you’re not taking out your phone to check out the updates on Facebook, your friends do that too!

    I do have a stricter rule I set for myself though, it’s to keep my phone away from bed so I know when it’s time to sleep I should really go to sleep.

    I’ve stopped letting the social media control my life, and I can still get writing inspirations from it.

    You may ask, “what about your work? what about the inspirations?”

    I’m not quitting social media, I’m just limiting my use of it and its bad influence on me.

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    Social media is not evil, it’s how we use it that makes it have bad influence on us.

    Since I’ve already unfollowed the things and people that would make me feel bad, I can focus more on what really matters to me — be it the news, information, knowledge, and even people.

    And I no longer have the urge to never stop scrolling the feed on Facebook or Instagram because I don’t really have that much time to restlessly looking at those things. I have an interesting life with lots of real and amazing friends, a lovely family and plenty of hobbies.

    I didn’t think I could make it but I really did. And I didn’t even need to completely quit it to take control of the use of social media. Try it, I think you can make it too!

    Reference

    More by this author

    Anna Chui

    Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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    Last Updated on December 10, 2019

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

    Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

    But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

    Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

    But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

    Journal writing.

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    Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

    Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

    Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

    1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

    By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

    Consider this:

    Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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    But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

    The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

    2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

    If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

    How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

    Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

    You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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    3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

    As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

    Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

    All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

    4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

    Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

    Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

    The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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    5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

    The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

    It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

    Kickstart Journaling

    How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

    Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

    Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

    Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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