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5 Keys to Liking Social Media Again (and Not Feeling Like a Boring, Underachieving Loser)

5 Keys to Liking Social Media Again (and Not Feeling Like a Boring, Underachieving Loser)

When we jumped on the social media party bus, we thought it would be the ticket to Friendsville. But while it has many upsides, social media can bring on the blues.

Is it possible to enjoy the party online with feeling the hangover? Absolutely! With these 5 keys below, you can enjoy social media again (and stop feeling like a boring, underachieving loser).

1. Why are you on social media to begin with?

Let’s go back to the beginning when you first heard of sites like Facebook and Twitter. You thought, “Oh, what a neat way to keep in touch with my friends. I’m in!” Kept in that frame—a way to stay in touch—social media is just a tool.

Somewhere along the line, we tended to get manipulated by numbers: how many friends you have, how many friends your friends have, how many people liked your posts, etc. It became about quantity, not quality.

Think about why you are on social media. Let it be a thing that adds to your life, not a thing that defines it. Be very concerned if it becomes your life. Instead of spending hours mindlessly trolling, take control so that you get what you want out of the experience. Make a list of the top 12 people you really want to stay in touch with. Write them a private message, saying something like, “You are someone I want to keep in touch with.” Then, once a week, write a longer message to one person on your list. Develop friendships of quality, not just quantity.

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2. Why are you sharing that?

Much of the fun of social media is reading funny comments. Some of the worst of social media comes from the maniacal overshare that we can all fall into from time to time.

Before you share a status or comment, ask yourself, “Why do I feel the need to share this?” Sometimes sharing from the public announcement platform is convenient and appropriate—and hilarious. But not all the time.

Filling out those instant little messages in privacy, we sometimes lose sight of the bigger audience in the room. Now, with running update features, you never know who will see what you post or in which context they will see it.

Would you stand up in a public restaurant and announce that you just ate too much? Would you walk into a party and tell everyone about the tight pantyhose bunching in your nether regions? If the answer is no, think twice about sharing it on social media. There are more personal ways to share your life with the people who have earned your trust and respect—or who appreciate your humor.

When you recognize that you are needing love and support, use the private message feature and select the people with whom you choose to share. A bit of discretion will help cut out the shame hangover.

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3. Comparison is the thief of happiness.

Brené Brown has popularized this phrase from  Laura Williams. It so good I just can’t top it, and it is a huge key to enjoying social media.

If you go on to social media and compare your life, achievements, body, house, children, spouse, cooking, writing or world to what you find there, you are setting yourself up to feel straight nasty in no time. It will take you right back to childhood when your siblings always got the better deal. If you still want to keep playing out that script, go right ahead, but it will leave you forever in the role of “not good enough.”

Try this: when you see the things that others have or have achieved, add them to your list of cool things: “Oh, maybe next year I’ll make that Halloween costume.” And, “Maybe I’ll do some research to see how we can vacation there.” Those things are not off-limits to you; they just haven’t happened yet.

Or, play the Gratitude Game. For the things that really hit your envy button, make a list of 10 things in your life for which you can feel genuinely grateful. It’s hardly original, but it works if you work at it. Then, if you get to a point where you feel like there’s nothing in your life worth giving thanks for, get yourself to a homeless shelter, battered women’s shelter, emergency youth shelter, or elder care facility STAT. It’s time for a reality check!

4. Give yourself a limit.

You’ve heard of FOMO? It’s the fear of missing out. When you’re enjoying a party, it makes sense to stay. But sometimes you’re not actually enjoying yourself; you’re just sticking around because you don’t have anything better to do or you’re afraid something awesome will happen the minute you leave.

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Here’s the deal: you’re not going to be in on everything. And just maybe by staying at the party, you missed an even better time unfolding somewhere else. Just like a casino, many social media sites are designed to keep you there. You have to practice some self-control and get out. Don’t let your boredom or your FOMO suck the fun out.

Try to have your social media time with a limit, like the 10 minutes over your morning coffee. Or the 20 minutes before your date arrives. Just enough time to feel like you’ve dropped in and said, “Hi.” If you’re used to long stretches of social media during a commute, start cutting back once a week with a trade out for a motivational podcast. Or read a book!

5. Remember it’s not real.

We loved watching movies in my house growing up. My mom had a catch phrase for when movies had effects that were over-the-top or endings that would never happen in real life. She do jazz hands and sing, “Hollywood!” It signaled to us: Remember it’s not real!

The online scene has become as absurd and trumped-up as a Hollywood movie. But you’re brain doesn’t always recognize it because it stars people you know. You have to keep in mind that it’s not real. It’s not totally fake, either, which is why we can get so lost in it.

Everyone on these sites are self-selecting their images and shares, even you and me. We’ve all turned into to little marketers, putting our best on display. Sure, maybe some are better at it than others, but none of it is the whole story.

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See it for what it is. Have fun with it!

Choose how you want to play. Perhaps you can do a month of shares with a theme. Try a seventies theme, Star Wars, write like a noir private detective. Make up a game with three of your friends and challenge each other to mix obscure words into your status shares. If someone catches on, bring them into the game.

If it’s not real, then you get to decide who and how you want to be. I’m not saying lie…I’m saying do it with jazz hands!

What strategy will you use to re-claim your “Like” of social media? Did I spark any ideas that could help others? Any thumbs-down action? Share in the comments below.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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