Negativity from the Internet

21.11.2017 |

Episode #8 of the course Overcoming mindless negativity by Sonia Chauhan


Our virtual worlds are staggering evidence of negative thinking patterns. Commonplace are gossip pages, snarky retorts, catty comments, left swipes, blocking contacts, abundant advertising, cyber bullies, and hackers. It’s mindless, it’s deceptive, and it’s negative.


What You Do That Feeds Your Negativity

Here are a few behaviors that promote your negativity:

1. not meeting enough people in “real life,” displacing social interactions by virtual conversations

2. scrolling your social media accounts every couple of hours

3. comparing your lifestyle with others on the internet

4. passing your time by shopping online

5. checking social media websites as a way to “pass the time”


How It Feeds Your Growing Sense of Negativity

If you spend too much time online:

1. You isolate yourself from the real world.

2. You depend on social media channels to provide an escape from your thoughts.

3. You shorten your attention span.

4. You display unnecessary information to the world. Then, you worry about their response. You create a system of seeking validation of your actions and omissions. You generate negative satisfaction.

5. You compare your possessions and relationships with others online. It is most likely a downward spiral. It makes you anxious.

An online chat never carries the same weight as a real-time social conversation. Too many things are missing: eye contact, hand gestures, sense of touch, and mostly, the talent of being witty or intellectual on the spot. You can’t “google it” to impress a date over a coffee. You can’t simply hide behind your mobile screen when someone asks you a dodgy question at a dinner party.

While it’s easy to veil our nervous ticks by preferring to “text,” the support, thrill, and warmth that one gets over an online chat is as muted as their ability to really express their true selves.

Communication and interpersonal interaction are the greatest gifts of mankind. That’s what makes us different from horses and giraffes: the ability to clearly express how we feel.

What can you do to stop negativity received online?

1. Cut your time on social media. We talk about this one all the time, but how do you achieve it when the expanse of internet is so alluring? Here’s what I’ve done the past year. I uninstalled the Facebook app from my phone. Also, I have a rule of using only the anonymous mode of my web browser. Every time I open Facebook, I have to log in again. This gives me that split second before I really get into my feed. It also gives me a moment where I can make the decision to not open it.

2. Take good breaks from your phone. Stop carrying your phone when you do your chores. Head out for a walk or meet a friend.

3. Control information influx. Uninstall random applications. Unless you require it for work or study, you don’t need it. Most of it is unverified information being passed along by gullible people.

4. Decrease your glow-time. Push off and mute all notifications that would make your phone screen glow. Switch off the light signal too. If your phone is an inert state, the tendency to just pick it up is reduced.

5. Keep your phone away while sleeping. Use a manual alarm clock. You don’t need your phone to wake you up.


Key Takeaways That You Can Pin Up

As Shawn Achor said, it’s not necessarily the reality that shapes you but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. Create a fresh, warm perspective through real communication.

Tomorrow, I will give out the most powerful, and perhaps most undermined, technique to get rid of mindless negativity: being kind to our own selves.


Recommended reading

Social media use and anxiety in emerging adults

The Facebook Experiment: Quitting Facebook Leads to Higher Levels of Well-Being


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