So it’s New Year’s resolution time, and everyone’s trying to figure out how to have a better year than last year. For myself, I’ve decided to learn French, and I’m going to continue my longstanding policy of not poking sharks. I have a lot of faith in the not-shark-poking one working out, but I’m not as certain about the French thing. They have like 43 vowels in that language, and I only know five.
And that’s the problem with most resolutions – they take a long time to pan out. Fortunately for you, I’ve come up with a 1-second solution to help you have the best year you’ve ever had. Ready for it? It will take you less time to accomplish than it will to read what it is. Here goes!
How to Be Happier in 1 Second: Stop looking at other people’s lives
That’s all you have to do. Recent studies have shown that the more time we spend on social media, the less happy we are, specifically when that time is spent passively staring at other people’s feeds (as opposed to actively interacting with friends and family). My guess is that the same is true when we read too many gossip magazines or watch too many reality shows, and the reason for all three is identical – because the collective effect of what we’re seeing is to make our own experiences seem less interesting by comparison.
Let’s see if this sounds familiar. In a given day you will learn the following: one friend got engaged; two people are having a baby; 13 people are about to go on the MOST EXCITING VACATION EVER!!!!; four friends did something noble and selfless over the holidays; and 16,000 new wedding photos just got uploaded to Pinterest and you’re pretty sure you’re not going to be able to have eight weddings in order to incorporate all of them. It’s not that any one of these pieces of information is a problem, but collectively they make it much more difficult for us to feel like we’re making good use of our own time. Throw in the fact that people are free to show you only the best moments of their lives (nobody details the six hours they spent in agonizing pain while passing a kidney stone last night, and if anyone does then I’m sure you’ve already unfriended them), and ‘much more difficult’ becomes ‘almost impossible.’
So turn it off for a while. Our brains are not designed to process information at the speed that it enters your social media feeds. That’s not to say that you can’t enjoy them occasionally. But if you’ve ever finished a 15-minute scrolling session and then felt slightly, inexplicably worse when you got done, it might be time to take a break.
Except from mine. Because I promise that the next cat picture I post is going to the THE CUTEST THING EVER!!!!!!!
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