A different way to look at social media & news
Have you ever thought about the impact of social media & news on your mental health, mood or productivity? Are you watching news and scrolling through Facebook on an auto-pilot mode or are you carefully reading and listening to all of it? Let's have a look at how media platforms affect our lives.
As of March 2019, there are 2.41 billion Facebook accounts and 1 billion Instagram accounts for a worldwide population of 7.7 billions souls. The average daily time spent on each of these platforms is about 1h.
Let's think about it for a second: 1h per day... You know what a person that spends an 1h a day, every day, at the gym looks like, right? Well, I'm not saying that you should drop your phone or laptop and go to the gym but I just want to focus on the results of doing a regular & specific activity for 1h per day: it has a huge impact on your life, happiness, skills, mindset, etc...
It becomes quite evident then that if you expose yourself to anything that generates any negative thoughts or sadness for 1h per day then you'll probably be in a sad mood for the rest of the day. If you expose yourself to some funny videos in order to distract yourself, you might be in a better mood but you'll be distracted for the rest of the day and your productivity will suffer. Finally, keep looking at posts of people who are by the beach or showing the big life and you might end up frustrated or jealous as you think that your life is not as glamorous.
As you can see, social media platforms play a huge role on the way we see the world and our life. Knowing this, let's see how can we use social medias to inspire us.
The first thing to start with is to be aware of when you get on social media. Kill the auto-pilot just for once and try to analyze what you're looking at. Then become aware of the emotion that gets generated by certain posts or certain people. Based on the emotions generated, start filtering posts & people: maybe you're following someone or a group that gets you moody every time they post something - unfollow them. Simple. So, going forward, you won't see their posts anymore so the chance of influencing a negative mood is lower.
By clearing up all the threads that you identify as bringing you down, then you create space for something else that is more powerful such as inspirational posts for example. Join new groups, follow your friends or people that inspire you. Once this is done, then you can go back to your auto-pilot scrolling. Moving forward you will be consistently exposed to positive thoughts and so your productivity & mood will improve.
If we're going to be a zombie on our cell phones, we may as well be a positive one!
What about TV, radio, newspaper...?
Recently, I did an experiment for about a week. Every morning when I turned on the radio in my car and listened to morning news, I analyzed news that generates negative emotions (sadness, anger...) vs. news that generates positive emotions (Happiness, warmth...). I also ran the same analysis for TV news at night, daily newspapers (big titles) & website news.
The average percentage of all news that were bringing my mood down was about 80%....8 news out of 10 gave me a depressing feeling!!!
What I found interesting as well was the TV advertising for example, when they promote a new TV show or else: fight, drama & tears! Everything is designed to give you that sense of anxiety... no need to try to understand why people can be so gloomy on the train in the morning!
Become aware of it and make a different choice. Expose yourself to another media, another channel, another radio station, podcast, another newspaper... Make the choice to expose yourself to positive media platforms. They are plenty out there and a simple google search will provide you a huge panel of options.
But, don't get me wrong, the point is not to deny the reality of this world and live in cuckoo land; because after all, even these sad stories are part of our reality. But simply establishing the right balance between positive & negative influences for the day will have a huge effect. Same with social media, make the effort once to review all these medias, update for new ones and you're good to go back to your auto-pilot.
By becoming aware of what we are exposing ourselves to on a daily basis and the impact that it has on us, we can take control of it and make a different choice that will positively impact and inspire us.