Color, Religion, Etc. Doesn’t Matter When You Need Urgent Help
Color, Religion, Etc. Doesn’t Matter When You Need Urgent Help
With each day, I see more evidence that social media has become a major distraction and that it may be negatively effecting the quality of our lives. Anxiety, confusion, depression, and a general lack of focus are plaguing many social media users. Television used to be the major distraction, but now Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have become a daily obsession for many people.
I am guilty of being too easily distracted by social media apps. Almost every day the first thing I grab is my cell phone. The second thing I usually do is open Twitter and check the trending topics. So basically, the first thing I see when I awaken to a brand new day is the chaos and confusion that’s going on in the world at the moment.
Sometimes there’s a horrific story of something that happened the night before. Other times the news stories are completely focused on the latest atrocity committed by the person currently occupying the oval office. The rest of it is mostly chitter-chatter and topics that can make you feel like you’re losing a few IQ points with each scroll.
In my book You Matter I mentioned the need to take social media breaks. I think there is great value in “unplugging” and taking regular breaks from the chaos of social media. Here are a few tips for how to better manage your social media usage.
Understand that Too Much Information Isn’t Useful
Imagine going to college for four years and trying to get 20 different degrees at once. There’s no way that you will be able to retain enough information from all 20 of those subjects to become enlightened on any of them. That’s basically what happens when you allow yourself to be overwhelmed with too much information on social media apps. Choose one or two points of focus and become educated/enlightened/an expert on those subjects.
Choose an App, Just One App
There are so many social media apps available now, including dating apps, that it can be very overwhelming keeping up with them all. Choose one social media account to focus on and stick with that. Here are a few insights about the most common apps from my personal experience:
· Facebook is for people who like to connect with the people they already know.
· Twitter is for people who are more cerebral and like to express their quiet thoughts.
· Instagram is for exhibitionists (think “show and tell”) who want to be noticed.
· Snapchat seems to be more appealing to young teens who are looking for a distraction.
Create Lists and Segmented Timelines
As mentioned earlier, social media is chaotic because you’re bombarded with so many different topics at once. One minute you’re reading a story about a loving llama and the next thing you know you’re presented with a news story about a violent attack abroad. It’s no wonder so many people struggle with anxiety.
Create lists or segments of people who will provide you with the topics that you want to read on your timeline. Search for specific hashtags of interest (#GirlTalk or #PoliticsChat) instead of looking at general trending topics. I’m not that familiar with social media sites outside of Twitter, but I know they have a way of limiting what shows up on your timeline.
Set a Timer
If hours go by and you’re still on Facebook or Instagram scrolling through pictures, you have to start setting some limits for yourself. It’s unlikely that you’re being as productive as possible in your day if you spend hours looking at posts by other people. So set a 10 or 15-minute timer on your phone right before you open your favorite social media app. That is enough time to get a quick update about what’s going on in the world so that you can then get back to your world.
Make Your Password Impossible to Remember
Taking extended social media breaks are necessary, but it can be easier said than done. If you find yourself spending too much time on a particular app, fix it so that it’s easier to resist temptation. Create a long and complicated password that you’ll never remember. Reset the password on your social media account and then log off. Now, when you feel tempted to pop into Twitter to see what’s trending you’ll be forced to go through the whole password reset process again.
Getting off of social media and getting back to real life may not be that easy since we’ve largely become addicted to our cellphones over the past decade. But we at least have to start having a conversation about this. Recognize how social media addiction may be affecting your life. Take steps to balance out your day and better manage the information that you’re consuming.
There was another high-profile suicide of an entertainer in the news recently. This person had been seriously depressed and distressed. He said so in an interview and in many of his songs. After reading a few posts on social media and learning more about his struggles, I feel compelled to write about the topic of depression again.
A lot of people get nervous when they learn that their friend or family member is depressed and instead of being there for them they run or ignore it. If you know that someone is depressed and you sincerely care about them, here are five ways that you can be there for them.
Text or Call: How Are You Doing? I Love You
It sounds so simple and basic but it means the world. When someone is in a depressed state they feel as if no one cares and no one is there for them. Taking two minutes out of your schedule to have a quick text conversation or phone conversation with your loved one means a lot. It interrupts that voice that’s playing over over and over in their head telling them that no one gives a damn if they live. It matters.
Hear Them Out
Some people are natural fixers, meaning that they always want to come up with a quick and simple solution to a problem. They’ll say something like, “Just exercise and you’ll feel better” or “there are so many people out there worse off than you, look at what you have going for you.”
Refrain from talking too much or minimizing your depressed friend’s feelings. There is a negative, oppressive energy talking to them, constantly telling them they’re worthless — it’s beyond your understanding or “easy fixes.” You can’t tell them how to feel because you are not in their shoes, so just hear them out. Allowing them to release their thoughts and feelings without judgment is therapeutic for them. Be patient with a depressed person.
Spend Quality Time with Them
In the age of social media, people think it’s perfectly fine to go weeks, sometimes even months without seeing or visiting their loved ones. If you know someone who is depressed, this may be one of the reasons why.
I personally believe that the lack of human connection between people of today is a main reason why depression is more prevalent. We’re human beings and we need human connections. Not in a chat room, but actually sitting in a room with someone, talking, laughing and watching television together or sharing ideas. Also when you are with someone in the same room, it’s harder for those negative voices to overwhelm their thoughts. A lot of people get into a depressive state because they are alone and start thinking too much.
Even if the person isn’t talkative when you visit, just being there with them means a whole lot. Regular visits will give them something to look forward to.
Don’t Flaunt Your Happiness in Their Presence
I’m always amazed by people who insist on advertising their happiness to the world at every opportunity. It’s rampant in social media. Every win doesn’t have to be flaunted and bragged about to those who are still struggling.
If you have a depressed friend who feels as if he or she is nothing, the worst thing you can do is present yourself as having everything. They will eventually withdraw them selves from you because they just can’t take it. Seeing someone who appears to have it all only intensities feelings of lack and unworthiness in a depressed person.
Instead of keeping up a facade of happiness and perfection, talk honestly about your own life challenges so that the depressed person will feel like he or she is not alone after all. If you can’t relate to going through major challenges in life, you probably aren’t the person who can help your friend or family member.
Go With Them to See a Therapist
Telling someone to go to a therapist is not as powerful as offering to go with them. Some people still believe that there is a stigma attached to going to therapy. But if you show your support by going to the appointment with them and sitting in the waiting room that may encourage them to take that scary but often necessary step.
If You Genuinely Care…
I’m tired of people rallying around a depressed person after it’s too late. There are things you can do to help your loved ones when they are experiencing a hard time to help them pull through it.
But it will only make a difference if you genuinely care, are able to empathize, and are non-judgmental.
Follow Lynn on Twitter: @LoveLynnGee
*Minor spoiler alert*
The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu is basically the worst nightmare of any women who has come to learn that it is OK to think for herself. It is the story of what would happen if women allowed men and the world in general to completely devalue them.
In it, women are reduced to the lowest common denominator: a womb.
As disturbing as the themes are in this multipart TV series, I think it is highly important for women and girls to see this show. It demonstrates the *extreme* of what can happen when we give up all of our rights and power. Even the most religious and conservative man-identified woman has to see the detriment of allowing anyone to rob us of our womanhood, strength and independence after watching this series.
The Handmaid’s Tale is an end of world scenario where a crazed religious cult somehow is able to take over what’s left of the American government and become militarized. The cult actively seeks women who are still able to conceive children and turn them into baby-making slaves for powerful men. The wives of these men are barren due to some sort of widespread biological problem. Against their will, the fertile young women are used as sex slaves for the couples and are only properly cared for when they’re carrying a child for them.
The wives are complicit in the enslavement of the young women and in my opinion are just as despicable as the men. Much like the Facebook generation, they pretend to be happy on the outside for their friends but are really absolutely miserable. They elevate themselves above the “handmaids” and treat them like animals. They are easy to despise, but it’s clear for an intuitive eye to see that they are slaves to the situation as well. They are insecure about their womanhood and know deep down that their husbands don’t really want them.
Women who choose love with other women in this unfortunate tale are designated as “abominations” and put to death. This was one of the most disturbing elements of the show for me — the cult makes every effort to break the entire spirit of women in general, take away all of their choices, and deem them useless unless they can have children. What child would want to live in a world like that?
Everyone in the series is secretly unhappy, but only the young women who have been taken hostage actively try to break free from the situation. So in addition to being an apocalyptic tale and gender-related thriller (two of my favorite themes) it is a story about the ever-strong revolutionary spirit of women. A small but powerful minority of women have always fought for their rights and personhood throughout history. It’s why we have the rights we have now. Thank God for them.
The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu is definitely worth watching, but I strongly suggest that if you watch this with a young girl or teen, watch it and give them the proper context of what they are witnessing. Have a conversation with them as you go along. This series should be used as an educational tool — a warning for all women of why it’s important for us to remain independent, educated, and empowered, no matter what.
I’ve been conflicted about a number of things lately. One thing is where America and the world are headed in terms of our values and policies.
I was stunned when I learned that someone who openly bragged about assaulting women was elected the president of what was once considered the most powerful nation in the world. But at the same time it reaffirmed a lot of my beliefs about how resistant many people (both men and women) are to allowing a woman to be in charge — even when she’s the most qualified and sane candidate.
So when details about the Women’s March were announced, I was encouraged. I wasn’t sure if I’d make the trip myself, but I was sure to lend my support.
The night before the Women’s March in DC something told me that I needed to go. I prayed for guidance on whether I should go and eventually decided it was a MUST that I go.
I decided to drive down and since it was so last minute I was on my own. The first indication I had that the Women’s March was going to be a big deal was when I stopped at a rest stop for gas headed for DC and it was JAM PACKED with women, buses and lines.
When I finally arrived at my destination, a garage where I could catch the train into the city, it was sold out — no spaces. I started to panic a little, hoping I wouldn’t have to search for parking for half the day, but thankfully a parking attendant recommended that I try another garage. There were spaces available — yes!
When I parked and got on the train, I was met with more enthusiastic and energetic women who had the same goal as I had — to make it downtown to the March. I sat next to a young lady and struck up a conversation with her. Yes, she was going to the March and was meeting a friend. The train was soon packed with women headed there.
When we finally arrived at our destination, I believe it was Union Square, I was immediately in the thick of the action. I walked with a group of women toward the main stage which I think was the Capitol. They chanted, pumped their fists in the air and held up signs. Despite their intense energy they were extremely polite and respectful.
You see, this is what I love about women. We can be ready for a fight and still show respect and deference for others. My whole time at the Women’s March, I felt safe, protected and encouraged.
I took pictures of various signs and scenes. I wasn’t able to make it to the main stage because again it was PACKED, but I got a good view of what really makes America beautiful. Freedom of speech and expression. Women making sure that their voices were heard, just like the courageous suffragettes before them.
On my way back to the train, I saw a sign that embodies what I think is one of the most important takeaways from this event. It read “We Are the Leaders We’ve Been Looking For.”
If you don’t like how things are going in your part of the world, whether it be your country, state or town, you can choose to be the leader you want. Consider running for anything from PTA President to councilwoman to mayor or more. The main thing that holds us back is our belief that we can’t do it, so we don’t even try. If you have an interest in being a leader in your community, now is the time to start taking action. Just do it.
Lynn Gilliard is an author and blogger. Her new book You Matter encourages women to know and understand their worth. She is also the author of a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.
Countless self-help books, quotes and gurus tell us that we shouldn’t care what other people think. That you should just do you. I believe I’ve even provided this advice to some degree in my books and blogs.
But after some thought I have come to realize that this isn’t entirely the best advice. I believe that you shouldn’t care about what everyone else thinks about you but you should care about what someone thinks about you.
Without boundaries, which are often set and established by the people we love and trust, our lives can quickly devolve into a chaotic mess. If you don’t have anyone in this world whose opinion you care about, there are no checks and balances. Sometimes we need the opinion of another person to stay grounded and headed in the right direction.
Take the case of young girls who fall victim to drug abuse, violent relationships and/or sex work. They often grow up without boundaries and pretty much put up a middle finger to everyone in the world. They don’t respect or care about the opinions of their parents, their friends, mentors, teachers or anyone else who might help them live a better life. Not caring about anyone’s opinion often leads them down the path of destruction.
Another thought. Currently in the US, we have a few leaders who think that they can do whatever they want, no matter who it hurts or affects. As much as they might not care about what anyone thinks about their deeds, that mentality will backfire. The opinions of their fellow citizens do matter.
Here’s one more example. I recently watched the Amazon series Z. It’s the story of Zelda Fitzgerald and her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald. They fell in love at first sight and had a whirlwind romance that quickly lead to marriage. But Zelda was unaware of her husband’s wild and lascivious lifestyle. He had no boundaries and neither did his friends. They lived life on their own terms, not caring what anyone thought of them (or so they said). Before she knew it, Zelda was swept up by it all and living that life as well. She died fairly young in a mental hospital.
To reiterate, I don’t think that you should go through life caring about what everyone around you thinks. It’s oppressive to be constantly self-conscious and insecure. But I do think that there is value in having someone in this world whose opinion matters to you, whether it’s a parent, a friend, a mentor or God.
A little while back, I decided to clean my refrigerator and do it meticulously. Making the decision to dedicate my time to that simple task turned out to be very therapeutic and rewarding. To this day, my refrigerator is still organized and much easier to navigate. I posted about it here at LifeLoveLynn.com .
So I decided to implement this idea one more time –- this time to my garage. Now, my garage is like a place of forgotten thoughts, events and dreams. It is stacked with books, yard supplies, sports equipment, tools, barbecue stuff, pantry items, supplies and countless knickknacks. Everything has been mixed together in piles that are sometimes as high as the ceiling.
I decided that this week I was going to organize this garage. All by myself. The first thing I did was conceive of the plan in my head. Napoleon Hill talked about the importance of taking at least a few minutes to an hour planning things out in your mind before you take any action.
I put my mini television in the garage, put on one of my favorite shows and got to work. I took my time and stayed positive. Just two hours later it looked like a completely different place. Two hours.
This was a reminder to me that I need to organize my mind before I can successfully organize my life. For months, probably years I have looked upon that mess when it could’ve been resolved in just TWO HOURS after thinking things through.
So what do you have in your life right now that needs to be organized? Whatever that may be, the first step is to organize your mind. Get a plan together and just do it. You might be surprised by how quickly the job gets done and how rewarding it is for you.