Less Social Media, More Happiness!

Taking in consideration the stress level increase due to the pandemic situation across the world, I’ve decided to review some of my habits in order to improve my mental health. As you may have seen already there are some quotes that mentions we become what we feed our minds, so I took this into consideration and started noticing what kind of things where present in my routine that were contributing for the increase of the stress level or getting myself into a dark / tired /senseless mood or giving sleep problems.

One thing that really caught my attention was how much social media was present in my routine, which I was spending around 1 hour a day on Instagram and some couple of minutes on the other apps such as Twitter and Facebook. So I asked myself,

“Why am I spending so much time in this digital environment watching people’s lives or watching them trying to sell me products, and in the end of it I’m not even feeling fulfilled or even happy about that? What are the outcomes this is bringing to my life at this moment?”

Jan Purisco

The answer was: None, in the overall majority it was bringing much value to myself and I needed to take a decision upon it.

I couldn’t just stay offline forever, everything today is about digital and sometimes we need to establish communication with someone or search for a specific type of information. So to avoid any radical changes I decided just to remove the apps from my phone and then I would just login through desktop/laptop, decreasing in almost 80% of its usage. The reason behind this number is because usually when I am using a desktop/laptop I am working or studying so I’m way busy to have a space of boredom to be filled by social media.

As I removed the apps from my phone, numerous times I saw my finger trying to reach to the place where it used to be Instagram icon, this way feeling a strange sensation on my mind as I lost something.

While accessing social media through desktop/laptop the User Experience is way different then in mobile where we are used all movements and shortcuts and besides that the access to a desktop is way more difficult while being on the street or any social activity or in transit . In a great number of studies (I won’t list them now) we can see the addiction in social media happens due to stimulation of dopamine on the brain while changing the topics and visuals.

From my first week with the usage decrease of social media I could notice the following differences in my routine:

Notion of the environment

Since I was not facing my Phone Screen or keeping myself “busy” I had more time available and I was searching for activities that were forgotten before due to “lack of time”. Some of those were nothing really productive but were things that bring me happiness, such as playing video games, reading books and comics, listening to music, watching old movies etc.

This way I could enjoy more my activities without any interruption and have more fun during my day! This is an important aspect when you have a stressful day, what would you prefer, spend your free time watching other people or having fun? Of course having fun will make you feel better by the end of the day.

Sleep quality increase

Somehow it was easier to sleep, I believe because my mind was not being stimulated before going to bed with all sorts of information such as politics, corona, cars and others, all of them without any relation just random topics appearing every second.

My sleep also go more stabilized and I could have better dreams, but this is something particular on my side that I can’t say it will be applied for all since we have a great number of variations for each person.

Interaction with others

Of course my interaction with other people increased, just think about how much time do you spend on the cellphone while having a dinner with someone or a group of people, or even on the Gym. It seems we are forgetting about people around us and just focusing on the digital environment where people are contacts, interactions and messages.

Increased sense of purpose

Having more free time made myself look for things that I like to do, even if it’s related to self-improvement which demands energy and thinking, this way increased my sense of purpose in life because I had more objectives. A very different situation compared to spending a considerable amount of time in social media having the sense that others are having a better time or better achievements than I.

Finally I was focused in living just for myself!

Decrease of stress

While consuming useless information about things that I wasn’t looking for or that I don’t have any sort of control over the situation, my stress levels were increasing and I was feeling overwhelmed since I couldn’t do nothing about it or because these type of things were not part from my current reality.

Removing this stimulation on my mind and giving myself the power to look for the information that I wanted to read gave me more peace of mind and focus while consuming the information I was looking for.

Productivity and Focus

Everybody wants a lifehack to be more productive and be the best where they are, you can all achieve that with or without social media usage, the point here is how much it is affecting yourself by the end of the day. Remove the apps from your cellphone and you will see how many times a day you try to reach them. This behavior can make you tired by the end of a stressful day, since you are handling multiple activities and also checking social media for more information to give you “pleasure” of mind.

So what should I do with Social Media?

In my opinion, I believe the best way to not let social media affects your life is to define its purpose, Why do you have it and Why do you want to keep looking into it? For example, some people my use to increase their relationships with people, others to improve their business and others to just show themselves.

Every why or reason to use social media might be valid since you don’t affect your mental health or offend others while using it.

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How to be a better person in Social Media? The paradox behind of it

Social media is one of the main drivers of today’s society, it leads us to apply trends, discover needs, create behaviors and even feel fear or happiness.

Do we really know how much our internet presence impacts society? How many of us take accountability for our posts? How many lives are we impacting through our message that is probably containing self-images, status exhibition, social or political views or just funny media trends, often leading ourselves to a great mix of feelings such as vanity, low self-steam, fear and depression.

Social media mainly leads ourselves to self promotion (it’s only about ourselves, not about others) building new values on society, where having likes and being well known by others are considered success. In order to achieve it people might do almost anything for it, form plastic surgeries, jumping from moving cars or even recording accidents or people getting hurt.

This connects directly to Narcisism.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder affects around 1% of general population and high levels of narcissism can manifest in a pathological form also leading to this disorder, whereby the individual overestimates his or her abilities and has an excessive need for admiration and affirmation, also with arrogant thinking and behavior, lack of empathy and consideration to other people. People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are often described as cocky, manipulative, selfish, patronizing and demanding. These surfaces in every area of a Narcissist life, from work and friendships to family and love relationships.

Narcissist people are extremely resistant to change their behavior, even when it’s causing them problems, the tendency is to turn the blame on others and they are extremely sensitive and react the slightest badly to criticism, disagreements, which they view as personal attacks.

The paradox existed in social media is while we connect to others to be closer, we keep increasing our distance by thinking and looking only to ourselves, expecting praise, admiration and affirmation from those around us, badly resulting in the lack of empathy and unity.

How can society grows together and equally in a good direction with those values and traits? How can a Narcissism based society with lack of empathy can be even sustainable if we don’t hold for each other but only for ourselves?

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Social media if is well used can turn into a powerful tool for the great of society, numerous cases can be listed where people received donations and support in urgent cases, inspirational stories were shared, intelligent debates arose and from it great solutions were achieved and people who we admire are easier to reach more than ever.

Thinking or serving to other people in our daily basis, including in social media, leads us to increase our empathy and to have a greater and positive impact in society. For every action that is taken we must ask ourselves what are the main outcomes that will be brought in other people’s lives, are those matching our main purpose or values in life? Social media makes communication easier, so how should we use this tool to bring a positive impact in other people’s lives as well?

Our Internet presence is as much important as our daily physical presence, that’s why we must dedicate our time wisely and define how can we bring a positive impact to others through our content and behaviors, it seems simple but it’s a big challenge in a world where Narcissism is valuable as a common trait.

Post inspired by the following content:

Jocko Podcast 221: Jonny Kim. Navy SEAL, Doctor, Astronaut. The Unimaginable Path.

Narcissism – Wikipedia

Narcissistic Personality Disorder – HelpGuide.org

Art: Bosch, Hieronymus – The Garden of Earthly Delights, right panel – Detail Bird-headed monster or The Prince of Hell – close-up head

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How do I get rich?

In a world full of comparison through social media, we get used to think being rich is the solution for all problems in life, but things are not like this, more often we see famous artists or rich people in the news with depression, drug addiction or even suicide. For example, It doesn’t matter how rich you are, if you are not happy with yourself or not treating others equally, you may have all the money in the world and still be poor, so in this case wealth does not come from money itself but form other aspects in life.

Based on my experiences I’ve listed 3 main aspects that will make you rich:

#1 – Health

Your body is like a machine and health is the engine, if you don’t operate it properly or choose to fill it with bad quality fuel, it will break or ask for maintenance through diseases. Good health is the primary key to drive you to success and will be the “one step ahead” factor from your competitors. Without it, everything can get more difficult through tiredness, depression and lack of motivation. If you have any type of restrictions, focus on eating well and doing at least 30 minutes a day of any kind of physical exercises, avoiding drugs, alcohol and finishing your day with a good night of sleep.

Key points to increase health:

  • Exercise 30 minutes every single day
  • Decrease sugar and carbohydrates, increase vegetables and grains
  • Avoid any type of drugs or alcohol

#2 – Spirit

Be in peace with yourself, avoid overthinking and make your way out of depression, find balance between you and the environment, who’s in peace with yourself will be with others. Make the difference, treat others equally (from the janitor to the CEO), no prejudice or bad treatment and focus in always doing good. Have more empathy, connect with nature, find what drives you to peace. If you don’t have inner peace, you will never be satisfied with the things you have or accomplished, it’s going to be an endless journey pursuing happiness.

Key points to increase your Spirit:

  • Start doing outdoor activities, increase your contact with the nature
  • Take a moment to listen only to yourself, without any external interference, might be meditation for example or doing a solo activity
  • For each negative thought you must seek for other 2 positive ones

#3 – Knowledge

After having everything set up (Health and Spirit), you can seek for knowledge which is the key to open new paths and opportunities to your life, only like this you will be able to reach to your objectives. Knowledge is one of the true differentials in our society who values futility and appearance is more important then the actual reality.

“Knowledge is power.”

– Francis Bacon

Key points to increase knowledge:

  • Study at least 30 to 60 minutes everyday, it can be any theme you want
  • Listen to podcasts during commute
  • Filter your social media and start subscribing to good quality content that will ad value to your life

Having those 3 aspects in balance, money will eventually come to you as a consequence of all your behaviors, and maybe you won’t need as much as you might think because when being in peace with yourself and others everything will be better and will be no need of pursuing happiness through money.

Photo: Kamilla Kvamme

Where my anxiety comes from?

Nowadays is way too common to feel anxious during the day, and most of the times we don’t know why and where this anxiety comes from, we simply don’t notice our triggers but what we do notice is our anxiety.

It’s common not to recognize that our thoughts are a significant trigger, often we have stressful dialogs or create catastrophic narratives in our minds. For example revisiting a recent conversation that caused stress, or remembering any bad behavior from others with you or uncomfortable situations at work. Or creating catastrophic narratives like having your house burning down or worried that something bad might happen to your loved ones, then imagining how you’d react to it or creating the worst case scenarios for personal or professional areas of your life.

In our digital culture and environment, we seem surrounded and always connected to screen, devices and other people’s lives and opinions, hopping from tab to tab, app to app, website to website, almost automatically without giving thought to the process. While we might not notice that during this process we’re still responding emotionally to what we’re consuming, for example, sensationalist news headlines, flawless Instagram images, emails and others,all of which can inherently trigger your anxiety. However, this can’t be noticed since we are to naturally hyper focused on this activity / behavior.

How to minimize inherent anxiety triggers?

Document Every Trigger – Take an outside perspective, ask yourself about what just happened immediately before you feel anxiety, pinpoint your thoughts, physical feelings and what you did, for example, drank a lot of coffee, thought about your to-do list, a memory from the past or a e-mail that you just read. Taking notes about it can open a clear way to reach for a solution.

Slow Down Breathing – Slowing down your breath will increase oxygen in your brain and also slow down your heart rate. Breath through your nose and count from 4 to 6 seconds, holding your in-breath from 1 to 2 seconds, then slowly breathing out through your mount from 4 to 6 seconds.

Turn On Your Senses – Find five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste. This will shift your focus away from the anxiety and will help you to connect to the present moment using your five senses.

Muscle Relaxation – Scan your body for muscle tension and then try to “unclenching” them. Relax your jaw, open your mouth sightly and make sure that your tongue is positioned at the bottom of your mouth.

Face Your Fears – Avoidance only amplifies and strengthens anxiety, facing your fears, a skill know as “exposure” can effectively reduce anxiety.

Consume Good Content – Just like eating healthy, we must do the right choices when it comes to consume content on social media or any digital channel. Stop watching or reading bad news, following vain and worthless social media profiles. Try to find what will add value, knowledge and happiness to your life.

Stay Off-Line – We stay connected almost 24 hours a day, it’s important to set a moment in your day to turn everything off and have a conversation with your own thoughts without any kind of interruption from mobile notifications. That way you’re going to clean your mind from anxiety that come from the digital environment.

Anxiety may comes from no where, just like an object falling from sky and smacking on your head, but when you dive deeper, you realize there is a reason, a feeling or a behavior that will work as trigger for it. Identifying the root of the issue will make easier to find new ways to resolve it.

Post based on: When Your Anxiety Doesn’t Have a Trigger

Art: “Glenn”, 1984 – Jean-Michel Basquiat

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Sleeping less than 6 hours affects your testosterone levels

Living in this world of fast pace changes where sleeping less is an opportunity to be more productive, we can put ourselves in trouble without really knowing the cause of it.

We can find a lot of people that are proud of sleeping less than 5 hours or even doing its fragmentation, claiming that their genetics were built that way and they don’t even feel the need for more of it.

Sleep fragmentation and obstructive sleep apnea are associated with reduced testosterone levels, this affects directly the morning testosterone levels since is prediction is based on total sleep time.

Testosterone is critical in sexual behavior and reproduction, but also has important beneficial effects on muscle mass and strength, adiposity, bone density, and vigor and well-being.

In this study, young healthy volunteered men slept 8 hours at week 1 (11pm to 7am) at home, then spent 11 days in the laboratory for 3 nights of 10 hour bedtimes (10pm to 8am) followed by 8 nights of 5 hour bedtimes (12:30am to 5:30am).

One of the effects noticed was that during walking hours, common to both conditions (8am – 10pm), testosterone levels were lower after sleep restriction while cortisol levels were similar under both conditions.

In this experience, daytime testosterone levels were decreased by 10% to 15% in just one week of sleep restriction. This way of living is very common for the majority of urban population and we can see the symptoms and signs of androgen deficiency including low energy, reduced libido, poor concentration and increased sleepiness, all of which may be produced by sleep deprivation.

Even if is required for us to be extremely productive in our daily basis, sleeping is still a mandatory activity, if we don’t consider that, we can put ourselves into a path full of symptoms and further on diseases without knowing even its cause, and start to medicate ourselves with something that could be prevented by just sleeping.

Post based on: Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy MenFREE

Art: “A Lua” – Tarsila do Amaral


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Is working too much a sign of depression?

We don’t expect that depressed people are successful at work, surrounded by wealth, power and most of time with trophies and prizes.

But this is becoming a common issue in our society, and most of its signs are being shown from another type of behaviors. As usual we expect that people who have depression stays in bed all day facing the ceiling or talking a lot of negativity.

Overt depression is the most known because of its symptoms that last for at least for 2 weeks, where he or she may feel “down”, and “blue” or having a decreased interest in pleasurable activities, including sex. At least 4 of any following symptoms must be exhibited: weight loss or gain, too little or too much sleep, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty making decisions or forgetfulness, and preoccupation with death or suicide.

Covert depression is more difficult to be identified, it is hidden from those around and it is largely hidden from his/her own consciousness awareness, driving the many actions of the person just like irritability, violent behaviors, dominance, drinking, work addiction, emotional unavailability pushing away the ones he/she loves away.

When a covertly depressed person’s connection to the object of his / her addiction is undisturbed, he/she feels good about him/herself. But when connection to that object is disrupted his/her sense of self-worth plumets and his hidden depression begins to unfold.

As it was mentioned before, covert depression can lead in many ways of behaviors, specially work addiction, in that case the person will always try to reach to this addiction in order to find happiness or peace. But this will never be a sustainable solution since it is finished all the symptoms will arise again becoming a vicious circle. When coming back, you will never be able to recreate the same feeling that you had in the first time of the addiction, and your need for it will always increase until you can not go back and be free.

Always pay attention to daily symptoms but also try to watch your behaviors with those around you and specially the way you treat yourself.

Based on the book: I don’t want to talk about it – Terrence Real

Art: Zdzislaw Bersinski

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Why and How to Wake Up Early

People always ask me why I enjoy waking up early, so here is a complete guide describing why and how to do it!

Why waking up early?

  • You’ll make time to dedicate only and true to yourself, because there won’t be any kind of distractions since most of people are sleeping
  • Doing something truly for yourself by the early hours contributes to have a better day because you’ll be starting it with the right mood
  • Your day will have more hours to be spent
  • Establish a better routine for yourself resulting in more discipline and better focus and results

The early hours of the day can be used for those activities that have been put away for any type of reasons. You will be able to improve yourself even if you dedicate only 30 minutes of your time on doing something related to sports, spiritual health, studying or any kind of thing that would make you feel better or archive your long term goal.

How to wake up early?

  • Choose a day to start, can be any given day, don’t focus on mondays like everyone else does.
  • Organize all your stuff in the night before, such as gym clothes, gear, breakfast, pre and post workout, hydration, work clothes etc.
  • Set at least 2 alarm clocks in at least 2 different devices
  • Try to sleep a little bit earlier than usual

Tips

No caffeine after noon, its effects can last at least for 5 hours in your body.

No heavy meals at night, avoid sugars and fat, try to eat clean to avoid indigestion during the night of sleep. Remember, this meal will be responsible for how you’ll feel in the next early morning, it will be your fuel for your activity.

Stop procrastinating in your cell phone near bed time, screen brightness and all that brain stimulation from social media can fry your thoughts and put you away from a good resting night of sleep.

Bed is for sleep or sex, start to slow down and don’t use it to think of problems or having heavy conversations with your partner.

Don’t Think Twice, when the alarms goes on just get up and get dressed. If you think for a few seconds maybe you’ll go back sleeping again. Remember the 5 second rule.

Start doing this tomorrow and I’m sure that you’ll start to feel even better. If that doesn’t fit in your routine, that’s ok, adapt it in order to always have at least 30 minutes of the day dedicated only for yourself.

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Choose what is RIGHT!

It’s a inherent for humans to seek comfort in things that appears to be easier or doesn’t have to many risks, however is choosing difficult paths will bring bigger accomplishments.

Each small decision we make in our daily basis will contribute to build a new future, in that way fight against your own mind to get after the things that will count to reach your objectives and not what is easier or comfortable for the moment.

5 seconds is the time we need to give up or move on, even if it’s difficult like waking up early in a monday morning, staying focused in a diet or finishing that annoying avoided task, move on will always make you feel better and more valued in the end.

Our decisions start by the time we wake up, so make it count every second and put in your mind what really needs to be done.

Have a good week!

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Prioritize and Execute

Every monday we start a new journey in out weekly triathlon with full email box, several pendencies and different ways of taking away our happiness

Nowadays we are surrounded by simultaneous problems, and this might be a risk and will result in failure if we try to solve all of them in just one time

Prioritize and Execute, this is the ideal exercise for mondays. Based on your objectives choose the task that needs more priority and guarantee it will be executed during the week! If it’s necessary, communicate with those around you and book in your agenda how many hours are need for its execution. After concluded, repeat the same exercise and choose one more task to be prioritized.

Remember the Triathlon, where we first focus on swimming, then cycling and by the end of it in running, always using transitioning to be ready for the next execution with the main objective to finish in the best time as possible.

Have a good week!

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