I have been on Facebook since the era when they required you to have a .edu email address. Roughly 12 years. It's kind of gross when I think about it. In that time, I've barely taken any breaks. This year, I decided to take a 40 day one from Facebook and Instagram and I can't believe how much better I felt.
What Happened At First
The first couple of days it was really alarming how much I found myself grabbing for my phone to hit the app, only to stop myself. When life events happened, I would have the immediate thought about posting a picture on Facebook. It was pretty surprising to me how much I thought this.
Once I got over the first 3 days, I barely found myself reaching for my phone to check it. Suddenly, I felt like I had so much more time. It was crazy. I also noticed the longer I went, the more I really didn't want to check it or go back on social media.
So, what did I do instead?
Listened to some fantastic podcasts
Worked on my business
I basically did anything that was going to fill me with positivity. I carefully chose what media did cross my path. I listened to things like The Good Life Podcast, watched the documentary, Happy and read the book Gifts from the Sea.
Improvements I Noticed
Within a week, I noticed my mood improved. I was also being less critical of myself. I remember I would beat myself up for wasting hours scrolling. I also felt more in tune with people. When I met up for meals with friends, I wasn't feeling the need to check my phone. At home, I also felt like I was communicating with my fiancé more. His love language is quality time so he used to hate when he would be talking and I'd be scrolling.
I've been off the news for at least two years now, so I was really out of the loop once I eliminated social media. I actually really liked this part. I feel pretty charged up by events and people's comments online, so it was really nice to be free from this.
The Not So Good
I did learned that other people don't really like when you're off social media. I received a lot of comments about this. I realized people feel artificially connected to you and your life via social media. We think a tag in a post equals connection. With me being off, this forced people to text or call me instead. It was really nice to get that from people more.
Alternatively, I also felt pretty out of loop about people's lives. There was one day I went to brunch and had not idea a friend was dating someone new. Had I been on Facebook, I probably would have known. We also purchased a house and had my bridal shower and people didn't know. We've become so used to only knowing about people's lives via social media and that realization made me pretty sad. I also didn't like feeling like I missed what's going on with people.
Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health?
Some researchers suggest it probably is. I've wrote about this in the past, too. I have quite a few clients tell me social media absolutely bums them out and leaves them with FOMO (fear of missing out). I've also seen social media negatively affect couples and it gets brought up in session frequently. I often recommend my clients reduce their consumption, especially in cases of anxiety.
I really liked the TED Talk from Bailey Parnell, who talks about the unintended consequences of being on social media.
What You Can Do
If you're wanting to take a social media break, here's some tips I have:
-Set a realistic duration for yourself
-Delete all the apps from your phone/tablet
-Log out of social media on all web browsers
-When you grab for your phone, remind yourself of your plan and open something else instead such as a book, music or photos you love
-Download books, podcasts, movies to turn to when you're feeling the pang of wanting to check it or bored
-Tell your friends/family that you're taking a break so they are not as inclined to tag you in posts
Now that I'm done with my 40 days, I do plan to check all the notifications I missed. I don't plan to add the apps back on my phone. I do use social media for business marketing but I am going to start scheduling posts so that I don't have to check as often as I used to. I like being free of social media, so I am going to practice the principles I learned during this break.
Social media got you bummed or anxious? Contact me now for an appointment.
The alarm goes off. You hit snooze three times. You finally wake up and realize you're already running late. You rush around to get ready and speed to work. Sounds like a typical morning, right?
For those of us who are already anxious, this kind of routine sets you up to already be in a frazzled state. If your heart is racing from the moment you get up until you get to work, you're already on high alert which gets your anxiety going. You probably also get up in your head during this time, too. Telling yourself things like, "I should have went to bed earlier!" "This is so stupid!" "I'm going to get written up." This basically sets you up for a day wrought with worry.
What if you got up 10 minutes earlier, enjoyed a hot cup of coffee or tea and spent a few minutes journaling? Is it possible to kick that heart racing, time crunched, horrible story telling time out of your morning routine and do this one instead? Yes, it is.
Besides massive success, people like Tony Robbins, Oprah, Arianna Huffington, all have another thing in common-morning routines. Most of them start with some sort of mindfulness activity and journaling. Many successful people have reported that starting off their morning right has helped them become more productive, less anxious and on top of their game. I love this article about The Morning Routines of Highly Successful Women.
Incorporating journaling into your morning routine can be the small shift that gives you that mental boost you're looking for.
According to Positive Psychology Program,"...we know [journaling] can make us more aware (and self-aware!) and help us detect sneaky, unhealthy patterns in our thoughts and behaviors. It allows us to take more control over our lives and puts things in perspective. Further, it can help us shift from a negative mindset to a more positive one, especially about ourselves..." (source).
Journaling has shown to help:
According to WebMD, "when your thoughts and worries swirl around, putting pen to paper can cut down the chaos. "When we write things down, they feel more manageable," says clinical psychologist Perpetua Neo, PhD." (source).
To help you get started, I've created a free morning journal template that takes about 5-1o minutes of your time. You can access it here. You don't need anything magical. Get yourself a spiral notebook, use the note app on your phone or print off the pdf and write on it directly.
I'm a worrier, too, and the template is based on my exact journaling method. Additionally, I spend time meditating and reviewing my vision board. The days I don't stick to my morning routine, I feel completely frazzled and rushed. The times I take a few minutes and stick to my journaling, the tone set for my day is 100% better.
Need a little more help with anxiety? Contact me at 317-279-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you scroll through Facebook or Instagram and get a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out)? Does the news hitting your feed make you feel depressed? You went to the comments section, didn't you? Don't ever go to the comments section!
It is so common for my clients to come in and talk about how social media is very triggering for them. I've heard about sexual assault cases on Facebook bringing up old memories, Timehop reminding you of painful times in your life or learning that your family has some disturbing views.
There's not a week that goes by that I don't hear from someone feeling emotionally triggered by what they are seeing online. In fact, "University of Missouri researchers found that some test subjects exhibited signs of a type of schizotypy known as social anhedonia. This condition is the inability to feel happy from activities that one would normally enjoy, including interacting with others. People who experience this have fewer Facebook friends, share fewer photos and participate less" (source). Wow!
A few years ago, I made this video about how social media is triggering you. I feel since then, it has become more and more relevant. We've become more addicted to our phones and social media than ever, plus we are bombarded with media every single day.
What are some steps you can take to help yourself right now?
1. Delete Social Media apps from your phone so you can only access them through the browser. This helps create another barrier to getting to them as quickly and can help reduce time spent on these sites.
2. Unfollow people, groups, news outlets, etc from showing up in your feed. Here's info on how to unfollow. I actually stopped all of our local news from appearing in my feed. I don't even see when my friends comment on their stuff anymore.
3. Start following groups and people who are sharing positive messaging. I even have a Facebook group dedicated solely to this!
4. Read How to Break Up with Your Phone (you'll thank me later).
If you're struggling and need help with what social media triggered in you, give me a call at 317-279-5022 or email me at email@example.com.
I put together a free introduction to mindfulness meditation class because friends and clients were always asking me how to get started. While there are tons of apps out there, my class is very straight forward and broken down into 7 days, with each audio being 7 minutes or less. The action steps are very doable and easily tackled each day. If you're completely lost at what mindfulness is, my class will help you with that, too.
The research on mindfulness meditation has been growing and showing awesome signs for reducing anxiety and depression. A study from the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology reported, "for patients with recurrent major depression, who had experienced three or more previous episodes, MBCT (mindfulness based cognitive therapy) approximately halved rates of relapse and reoccurrence..." (source). This is exactly what I have been seeing with my clients.
I remember several years ago, I was running a MBCT group. One of my clients had a lot of chronic pain and negative thought spiraling. I suggested they try the group. They were very hesitant, thought this was crap and then one day, we were doing a moving mediation and the ~changes~ happened. They said, "with all of this pain, I didn't think I could do anything. I did that meditation and I moved my arms over my head for the first time in years. I thought I couldn't do it but figured out it was my brain just telling me I couldn't." Their depression reduced significantly after that.
Click the audio below or visit SoundCloud to access this free mindfulness class:
If you want a little more help after this class, the best book I've read on meditation is, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help the Actually Works -- A True Story by Dan Harris. I really hate BS, "meditation changed everything but I have no idea how" books. I think I've read 10 of these by "spiritual gurus" and left with the feeling that I learned nothing useful. This one wasn't like that. Dan was honest and raw about how some stuff sounds completely dumb and some things were incredibly useful. I also appreciate that there isn't a spiritual side to this book or proselytizing. I used the app, by the same name, while I was deployed to help with my stress levels.
Want to go a little deeper, one-on-one? I am trained in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and love incorporating the skills into my practice. If you want a little more time and attention with mindfulness, contact me now to set up a free 15 minute consult.
If you have a child that you feel could benefit from mindfulness, Mini Minds, LLC in Carmel has several classes for pre-schoolers and school-aged children.
Communication. We hear it all of the time: the key to relationships is communication. But how do you do it? Usually we are taught some really bad skills, like yelling around or going silent. When it comes to expressing difficult feelings, most people really struggle. In this quick video, I give you the steps to easily communicate your feelings in a way that's non-threatening and helps resolve conflicts with partners.
Don't have time to watch the video? Here's my quick info graphic on the ABC model of communication.
Step A: Expressing the feeling. The key is to identify how you are feeling due to a behavior. We often come off very blaming, which immediately gets people on the defense. Try, "I felt hurt when you said my friend is a jerk." Not, "you hate all of my friends and are so negative!!!"
Step B: Empathetic statement. The goal here is to defuse the situation. You don't have to say something not genuine or completely against how you're feeling. "I don't think that was your intention" can go a long way in an argument. This communicates to the other person, "I don't hate you or think you're complete scum. Maybe something is off."
Step C: Ask for a change in behavior. Again, this is about offending behaviors, not character attacks. Identify the behavior that you need changed. Try, "in the future if you could tell me what about my friend bothered you, instead of saying she's a jerk in general, that would help." Not, "quit saying anything about my friends! I don't want to hear it!"
Need a little more help with communication? Individual clients and couples often come to me to work on communication skills. Contact me now to set up a free 15 minute consult.
Hi there, I'm Arielle a licensed therapist on the Northwest side of Indianapolis. I am an Army Veteran, meme connoisseur and watercolorist.