Sunday, 22 July 2018

Disconnect.


Hello! Hope life is good.

To be totally honest, I had a completely different blog post planned for today (it'll be posted sometime soon, I promise), but I just felt as if I had to post this blog post today.
When I started my blog I always liked the idea of using it as an online journal/diary where I could post about anything that I was thinking/feeling/creating/reading/listening to/etc so I guess I'm doing that today. So yeah, brace yourself for yet another blog post about me talking about social media (You can leave now if you want, I won't be offended).

I'm kind of sick of Instagram and social media and technology at the moment.
And by 'kinda' I mean very much so! I genuinely can't think of a day so far this year where I didn't check Instagram at least once. So basically I've been on Instagram every single day.
Other things that I do every day help me be happier and healthier and make me feel good, things like brushing my teeth and eating good food and meditating and trying to drink enough water. And since I'm using Instagram every day and it's not making me feel any of those things, I decided I'd take a step back and analyse it and see what the problems are.

I've broken it down like this...

Things I like about Instagram:
  • Connecting with amazingly brilliantly talented people and companies/businesses.
  • Getting inspiration.
  • Finding recipes and cool new places to eat and get coffee.
  • Keeping in touch with family and friends at home and abroad.
  • Using it as a place to express myself creatively.

Things I don't like about Instagram:
  • The constant 'noise' of everyone showing literally everything they're doing.
  • Ads from people that I don't follow. I don't follow them for a reason.
  • Pop up ads.
  • Clickbait content.
  • The fact that (because of the internet) you have to be constantly contactable and online to answer questions and comments etc.
  • Instant gratification (everything is instant/faster nowadays which is great for posting letters and getting exam results, but can have a significant impact on you mentally when you have people constantly 'liking' your posts etc).
  • Short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loop (basically you feel good when you get a new like/comment/follower but the feeling doesn't last for long so you keep checking and refreshing for more likes/comments/followers. You're hooked without even realising it.)
  • I feel much more judgemental after I spend time on Instagram.
  • The fact that Instagram is a 'highlight reel' and you're always comparing your everyday stuff to people's highlights.

Obviously I understand the amazing power social media has to help people live better lives and help create a better world, I certainly wouldn't be where I am today without Instagram. I've met the most amazing people through the app and I've found the coolest places to get food and travel to. So I get that social media is a double-edged sword, and I'm grateful to where it has helped me get to today.

But like what I'm struggling to understand is the whole 'Instagram mentality', I've seen so many posts and captions saying "If it's not on Instagram did it even happen" or something along those lines.
What if we all lived our lives offline and then we only posted the stuff that'd inspire others. I'm not saying that we all have to be hippy preachers and only post pictures of the sunrise etc, but definitely if there were less selfies and mirror pics and boomerangs of cocktails and all that, I feel as if Instagram might be less anxiety-causing and more uplifting.

Right now I'd love to delete my Instagram (again). But I feel as if I can't because I'd miss out on so much. Everything is done online now. And it's not just Instagram, it's technology in general.
I've actually been thinking about buying a Nokia phone (the one with all the buttons) and just getting rid of my iPhone. But I decided against that because things like the internet and Google Maps and Spotify are all actually really handy to have!

But basically what I'm trying to say is that I'm sick of living my life through my phone.
We're all so 'connected' with everyone that we've become disconnected from ourselves and from nature.
When I'm out with friends and I get a coffee, I don't even think twice before I take a picture of it.
But.
Why not.
Instead of doing that, why can't I just enjoy the coffee and the people I'm with and the present moment that I'm in.
Obviously I love helping people and (hopefully) inspiring people to live happier and healthier lives, but I'm kinda done with sharing every aspect of my life. My relationship with social media had gotten to the stage where I'd take a picture of whatever I was eating, eat it, look at the photos I took, and then feel bad if I didn't like the photos or if they weren't what I wanted.

So I guess I'm going to take a step back from being so 'active' on social media.
I'm going to take less photos. I'm going to scroll less. And I'm going to try and be more present and I'm going to try and appreciate the smaller things in life.

It's so cool that the internet has allowed us to travel to any part of the world and we can keep up with anyone in any corner of the world.
But why don't we stay closer to home? Why don't we keep up with ourselves and treat ourselves with the love and care we deserve? Why don't we show more love for everyone surrounding us and appreciate the many ways that they help us?
Maybe if we all focus on our small corners of the world, the world would become a more accepting and loving place.

I know all that sounds so pretentious and it's a lot easier said than done and trust me I'm trying to practise what I preach!
I wish this blog post would be like the other ones I've posted where I'm like "Here are 5 steps to..." but to tell you the truth, I haven't gotten this whole social media thing figured out yet.
All I know is that these points below have helped me become less anxious and I've noticed that I'm using my phone a lot less and I find that I'm more present and more capable of living in the moment...
  • If you don't want to use social media anymore and if you know it's the right decision, then...quit!
  • If you don't like that person in real life then you don't have to follow them online. (Even if you DO like that person in real life, it still doesn't mean you have to follow them online.)
  • Try and only post content that could inspire and help others.
  • Be authentic and genuine and real. Don't post something only because 'everyone else is doing it'.
  • If someone is annoying you online or if you follow someone who makes you feel bad/anxious/sad/unsure then UNFOLLOW THEM.
  • There are no rules when it comes to social media so post whatever you want, whenever you want.
  • Be conscious of the time that you spend on your phone and on social media. Apps like Instagram etc are free for a reason, they want to get your attention for as long as possible.
  • Turn off notifications for apps like Instagram and Snapchat etc. (I only have notifications on my phone turned on for texts and calls, and I find that I'm using my phone a lot less.)


I could go on for days about social media and technology etc but I feel as if this blog post is long enough so I better stop now!
Just remember that life is meant to be lived.
Live your own life, stop living through your phone looking at other people living their lives.

If you'd like to contact me you can send me an email to plantpoweredhuman@gmail.com or you can chat to me over on my Instagram.
Big love,
Darragh
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