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3 Sneaky Ways to Make Social Media Less Stressful

3 Sneaky Ways to Make Social Media Less Stressful

If you ever feel overwhelmed by a never-ending stream of Facebook notifications, this article is for you. These three sneaky ways to make social media less stressful will change your Facebook feed into a more peaceful place.

1. Delete Hateful People to Make Facebook a Happier Place

Ain’t nobody got time for negativity. If a person complains 24/7, leaves hateful comments or sends excessive game requests… it’s time to break up.

When making important decisions, it’s smart to consider all variables. But there’s nothing wrong with having a slight case of tunnel vision on social media, where the whole point is to connect with people you care about. Ain’t nobody got time for negative Neds and Nancys.

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Also, ladies – here’s your opportunity to dump all those guys who are leaving creepy comments on your photos, or bothering you with excessive messages. If someone views you as a sexual object and nothing more, then they are unworthy of your friendship. You deserve to be surrounded by true friends who love and accept you for the unique person you are (read: they’re not just in it for the booty).

If you’d like to make your feed a more positive place, follow these steps:

  • Access Facebook via your browser or cellphone
  • Navigate to your profile
  • Click the link to “friends”
  • Scroll all the way to the bottom, because it lists them in order of relevancy (this means the people you actually talk to on a regular basis should be near the top).
  • Start there and work your way up to the top, clicking the “unfriend” button next to the names of people you’re friends with for no good reason

Note: If a picture isn’t displayed, do NOT click that link. If there is no photo, they have deactivated their profile, and clicking “unfriend” will make your screen refresh. I’m not sure why this happens, but it is what it is. If you are obsessive compulsive like me, get a pen and paper and make a list of those people’s names. You can search for and delete them one at a time after you’re done with the rest.

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2. Organize Your Friends into Lists to Connect with the People You Care About

Don’t simply broadcast status updates to everybody you know. Instead, sort your friends into separate “lists” (click here for a tutorial). To illustrate why this would be beneficial, you could create these six categories:

1. Family
2. Co-workers
3. Networking/business contacts
4. Good friends who know a bit about you
5. REALLY good friends who know a lot about you
6. BFFs who know so many of your secrets that they could write your biography

You probably wouldn’t share a juicy detail you told your BFF with your cousin, would you? Different kinds of updates will resonate with different individuals in your life. This is exactly why lists exist. Use them.

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3. Disable Annoying Emails and Notifications that Distract You from What’s Important

Don’t think those brief excursions to Facebook in the middle of the day add up? Allow me to prove you wrong. Let’s assume you open the FB app on your phone twenty times per day to check your notifications. For the sake of example, let’s say you end up browsing for three minutes per log-in:

20 log-ins per day X 3 minutes per log-in = 60 minutes per day

Do that every day for a week, and you would be out seven hours per week. I know it might not feel like a big deal when you check your phone in the middle of the day, but that time can add up if you get carried away with it. If you’d like to remove the temptation of instant notifications, simply follow the instructions at the help articles linked below:

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I hope these three tips help you make social media less stressful. Don’t feel bad for unfriending people and unsubscribing from updates, because the whole point of social media is to connect with people you care about.

Featured photo credit: Intense woman at work/jseliger2 via flickr.com

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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