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The social media trap

Representational image.

Representational image.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

The more you get entwined in its grip, the more difficult to extricate yourself from it

You posted your vacation pictures on Instagram, but there were very few likes. You wrote a blog on LinkedIn, but hardly anyone commented on it. You forwarded a WhatsApp message on “positive thinking” to your work group, but there were few responses. You shared your article on e-mail, but no one replied to it.

You get frustrated, dejected and disappointed and show anger, hurt, irritability, irascibility and melancholy. Social media often catalyse such reactions. The more you get entwined in that grip, the more difficult to extricate yourself from it.

Can we only blame social media for ruining an individual’s peace and driving him or her to depression? What about self-control? Don’t you think individuals need to exercise restraint in terms of their expectations from social media?

How can we free ourselves from this social media trap?

Here are five steps to modify your behaviour and progress on the path of happiness and peace.

Do social media define you as an individual?

Are you going to allow your talent, skill and competence to be evaluated by all the people in the world? Is it necessary to seek evaluation? Is feedback necessary all the time? Do you really think everyone has time in this world to look beyond their agenda and focus on what you posted or wrote? The truth is that you should do something that makes you happy but don’t expect others to join you in this journey. The less the expectation, greater the contentment.

Regulate your social media activities

Is it necessary to check social media the first thing in the morning? Think about it! Restrict your social media activities to a few hours in the day. If you can decide to check your social media accounts on certain specific days at certain specific hours, it will help you to wean yourself away from the addiction. Check your WhatsApp accounts and e-mail accounts twice a day. Avoid unnecessary and unwanted disruptions to your work. Switch off the data on your smartphone and deactivate the alarms and instant alert options. If you can’t handle social media, stay away from it! Contrary to what we think, our social media activities eat into our time without our knowledge.

Divert your attention to productive activities

It is easy to succumb to the lure of attracting attention from others and gloat in that feeling of jubilance. But remember that such incidents are rare and tension will follow.

Books are a human being’s best friends. Read at least 30 minutes a day. Read magazines and newspapers that can enrich your knowledge and equip your intellectual faculties to keep you ahead of the competition. Listen to music. Pursue a hobby or passion that you always wanted to do but were

religiously postponing! Start writing or blogging to explore your writing talent and not to gain reward and recognition. Be a volunteer and experience the pleasure of giving back to society.

Meditate every day

Remember that mental health is as important as physical health. So, choose whichever healing technique that you are comfortable with. Rather than staying glued to work, get up every once every hour and take a stroll. Listen to relaxing music to calm your nerves. Meditation helps the mind to focus and deflects our attention away from our irrational thoughts and emotions. It is up to us to leverage the benefits that social media offers.

Do not run behind recognition; let recognition pursue you

Recognition is like a mirage. You run behind it and it ends up making you chase it. Rather than seeking recognition from others, it is better to appreciate yourself and pat yourself on the back. You can then experience the magic called life unfolding in front of you.

Your happiness need not be defined by what others think of your achievements. We have to understand what makes us happy and do those things that enliven us, filling us with radiance and enthusiasm. Enlightenment is a journey and not a destination. Every trial and tribulation in our lives is a learning experience.

In the earlier days when people went for a vacation, photos were captured on the film camera and the roll was given to a studio to develop the print. The pictures were then religiously stacked in an album for posterity. The joy of watching these pictures from time to time was immense. It reminded us of our great experience during our vacation. Our happiness was seldom dependent on likes and comments on those pictures.

It is time to revisit that glorious past. What do you think?

venkateshganapathy@presidency.edu.in

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 3:35:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-social-media-trap/article31258718.ece

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