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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 October 9, 2018

    27 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down

    27 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down

    Who has never gone through some ups and downs in the life? But some people can feel better in a quicker way than others because they’ve found their own remedies to heal the bad feelings.

    If you haven’t found yours, these ways will help you instantly feel better and ditch that negative self talk when you’re feeling bad about yourself:

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    1. Listen to the songs you loved when you were in high school or university, this will recall you of the old good times.
    2. Write something. Write down how you feel as a way to express your thoughts if you don’t feel like talking to anyone.
    3. Draw something. Draw anything you want because no one’s going to judge your drawing skills.
    4. Read the postcards or letters your friends or family sent you before, remind yourself there are people who always remember you.
    5. Silently think of a day or moment which you truly enjoyed and try to recapture that very first feeling. Was it the day of your graduation? The moment you traveled with your loved one?
    6. Take out your photo albums and go over your childhood photos.
    7. Cry when you feel like doing so. There’s nothing wrong with crying; cry out all your fear and stress and just face the truth after crying.
    8. Sing loudly like no one can hear you. Do you know that in Japan, people always sing karaoke to relieve stress?
    9. Cook a nice meal for yourself or for your family.
    10. Read your previous diary entries and look at your great memories.
    11. Dress up nicely to feel happier.
    12. Don’t stay in your bed! Get your laptop or a book and sit in a coffee place.
    13. Take a walk outside and feel the fresh air.
    14. Sweat yourself! Go jogging or play some sports.
    15. Pick up the musical instrument you used to play a lot and start to play it.
    16. Tidy up your desk or wardrobe, you’ll feel good that you’re being productive and actually doing something.
    17. Watch some funny videos, sure you can find a lot of them on Youtube.
    18. Eat something you like, be it a chocolate cake, or an ice-cream. Just please yourself with the flavour you like.
    19. Re-read your favorite book and write down the sentences or passages that you love.
    20. Watch a new movie, there must be a movie which you’ve always interested in but had no time to watch it.
    21. Do something nice that no one will notice, say picking up a rubbish in the street and throw it to a trash bin.
    22. Call your best friend and just talk whatever you want! Human beings are social animals after all, connecting with people close to you will make you feel better.
    23. Do voluntary work and help people in need, you’ll feel happy and satisfied.
    24. Get drunk with your close friends at home – a safe place for you to get drunk and get crazy. Let loose and have fun with your very close friends.
    25. Write an email or a note to a friend who you care about.
    26. Get out of your routine life and meet new friends. Get out of your comfort zone! Meeting new people can give you new inspirations in life.
    27. Look into the mirror and smile. Act like today’s already a wonderful day. How we act affects how we feel. It’s difficult to go on feeling sad if you’re trying to smile!

    Remember:

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    It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.  — Epictetus

    If you want to feel better, change what you’re doing because obviously what you’re doing doesn’t make you happy!

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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