"All of the biggest technological inventions created by man – the airplane, the automobile, the computer – says little about his intelligence, but speaks volumes about his laziness." – Mark Kennedy
Life is Different Than it Used to Be
We live in an online world more often than not. We have so much technology now that’s supposed to streamline our lives and make it easier to connect with the people that we care about.
It’s supposed to make it easier to do business and make good things happen for our careers. But strangely, the technology that was supposed to be the key to our happiness, comfort and success has the potential to backfire.
Instead of helping, in many cases, the use of technology has led people to deeper levels of stress, feelings of discontentment and lives so busy that they’re hardly living at all.
It's Not JUST the Internet - Take Responsibility for Your Choices
Studies performed on the link between stress and time spend on the Internet or social media sites can be misleading when they claim that spending time online can lower stress.
The factors involved in the studies don’t take into consideration the offline lifestyles of those involved in the studies. Technology in itself is neither good nor bad. It’s how it’s used that can make it something that can negatively impact your life.
That's it - the key to using technology and staying happy at the same time.
The key is to use technology with mindfulness. You can incorporate what’s good and positive about being online and the various use of technology to connect with other people in a meaningful way.
For example, if you have family members that live a good distance away from you, it can make you feel happier when you connect with them instantly through a text message or through an online chat.
You can share updates about your life or send relatives photos of your kids instantly. When you use social media with mindfulness, it can help you to be able to better manage stress.
It can also lead to feelings of contentment and leave you with a more positive outlook. The dark side of being online is that there’s a great deal of negativity floating around in cyberspace.
The Trolls Online
We've all heard about online trolls, and some of us are even privileged enough to know one. There are numerous stories about people being hateful to each other, calling names, bullying, threatening or harassing. There are people who keep drama heightened through online fighting.
Even if you’re just an online bystander to someone else’s drama, if you experience that, your mind will register the same type of anxious response as if you had been involved and your feelings will follow the lead of your thoughts.
When you see how wonderful someone else’s life appears to be online, it can lead you to become discontent and irritable. It can make you focus on the negative instead of looking at the positive.
Awareness of Your Thoughts is Key
Online interaction can also make you feed yourself negative self talk - especially when you see others who are better looking, richer, have nicer homes, easier looking lives and appear to be having more fun.
Not only will you feel bad about yourself, but your stress level will go up. When you practice mindfulness in associating with your technology use, you’ll discover that your happiness level will increase.
You can do this by setting limits on when you’ll be online and how much time you’ll spend online. Refuse to keep your cellphone with you 24/7. When you are on social media or online, find ways to use it to do something positive such as encourage someone else.
Let go of the things online that are irrelevant to your life or that make your negativity or stress level rise. When you do go online, make sure that you have a defined purpose and a time limit and stick to that.
What do you think? How does living "online" affect your "real life" these days? Could you benefit from being more mindful about your technology use?