There is no doubt that the current social and political upheavals we are experiencing have at times reached the boiling point. Just when you thought things couldn't get worse, an event test the very fabric of not just our individual ability to adapt, it also test how humanity will adapt. Here are 5 steps that you can take on a personal level that will help you find that healthy balance when dealing with different types of media
Unplug and Reconnect
Much of the negativity that we experience on a daily basis comes from the technology that we have become, in the case of many people, ADDICTED to. Smart phones, tablets, vehicles with WiFi, citywide WiFi and the like have made our lives more convenient, there is no doubt. I love being able to check my bank account, pay bills, video call distant relatives and watch a funny video; it's great!. However, at some point, I start to feel smothered by those conveniences. Advanced technology can be intrusive and disrupt the natural course of basic human interactions. It also blurs the lines between practicing autonomy and building lasting, meaningful relationships. These are things that I do to unplug and reconnect that I have found helpful:
1. I make time throughout my day to say "no" to certain apps. Ever the non-conformist, I resisted many popular social media outlets for years. When I finally gave in to opening various accounts, I tricked myself into believing that I would be able to keep myself from falling down the posting and commenting rabbit hole. Occasionally, I get sucked in and before I know it I've spent an hour on my iPhone or iPad. Because I enjoy other convenient features of my phone and tablet, I commit to stop using social media apps for a period of time. Sometimes I do if for a few hours to a couple of days. I don't really have a set time-frame for how long I unplug, but I know when it's time to plug back in. Trust your gut and your judgment.
2. Find some nature! Go for a walk in the park, to the lake or the beach. Find a trail to hike. Getting outside can clear up head space for thinking about the most important person. YOU! This is also a good time to connect with your higher power and find gratefulness in the wonders surrounding you. There is something to be said about being able to take in the wonders of nature. We could learn a bunch from nature since in it's barest essence, there are no distractions other than the ones humans create. I don't see squirrels running around posting Facebook Live videos and have yet to see a maple or oak posting a selfie.
3. Now this one will probably make you cringe, but I'm going to say it: TURN THE MUSIC OFF. There, I said it. If you're like me, you LOVE your tunes. In the car, the shower, while cooking, while working out. Nothing is wrong with music. Sometimes, however, you need to have time to hear your own music. That inner voice, your internal theme music. The thing might be that you didn't know you had an inner song. Why not take the time to find out what it sounds like? That's hard to do when you have someone else's creation crowding your head space. I went hiking recently and was looking forward to experiencing nature in it's purest form. I was looking for the rustling of the leaves, the scamper of the little furry woodland creatures. Then about halfway up the mountain, I heard music off in the distance. People had actually brought Bluetooth speakers and were playing music on the trail. I mean really?! Sometimes the only soundtrack you need is the sound of life.
4. Finish a project, task, or chore that you've started. We've all done it. You start a project, task, or chore then WHATEVER happens and it pulls you away from completing it. I did it with this post! I am notorious for opening my can of creative awesomeness and then the next thing I know, one task turned into five. To be honest, some of the time, It's because I get a call, or check my phone for an alert. That completely distracts me and then I'm off my game plan. To combat this, I put my devices in another room or put it on silent mode and WALK AWAY. With the distraction gone, I then put my focus on finishing what I started. Sometimes I pick the task by priority/importance of the completion. But most of the time I pick the thing that is in my way or making my daily living be inconvenienced. I commit to taking time on a fairly regular basis to complete something that I started as the one and only thing I do for the time it takes to finish it. Sure if it's something that can't be done quickly, I pace myself and take breaks if I need to; but my goal for that time is to actually finish. I find a gratifying sense of accomplishment once I'm done! And you know after all that, my phone is still exactly where I left it.
5. Trim the fat. It's easy to see different apps that you want to download to your smart devices and television show to stream or record by the click of a button. It could have been something you saw as an ad or splash page on your laptop, or a commercial while watching a show or movie on TV; instantaneously you think "I've got to have that." Some apps that you download could really be the ticket to helping you streamline task in your life, yet some other apps; not so much. I can admit that there are some apps that I scroll past and wonder when's the last time or if I have even used it. What I do occasionally is "Trim The Fat" by deleting apps from my smart devices that I have never used, don't use, or no longer see the benefit in continuing to use it. Keeping obsolete or useless apps not only takes away storage space on your device but it clutters screens and folders. That means there is more to look through than is necessary. Ditch that app! Drop and drag to the trash or select that "x" to make you screen more visually appealing. There's never anything wrong with free up space in your life (and phone).
These steps are just a few things that I have found helpful. You may be thinking that some of the steps are easier said than done, but with some practice and patience you will see that adjusting your habits can be beneficial. As my life and daily activities change, I too will adjust my coping tools to find what best works for me at that time. Think about some things that you can do to Unplug and Reconnect and I'm sure you will find that they may not change the state of how media is today, but it will make how you interact with it more balanced.