Happiness is a lovely word, but do we really know how to be happy? If we believe in the fairytales, it’s a magical process, but in real life it's more complicated. You can’t wait for it, pretend it, or wish for it. You literally must work at it. I don’t have a degree on this subject, but what I do have is a life of ups and downs where I felt my toes dangling over the edge of rabbit holes, and somehow kept from falling in. I learned early on that happiness is a full-time job. The alternative is quite unpleasant.
Experts tell us happy people spend time with family and friends, appreciate what they have, remain optimistic, have a sense of purpose, and live in the moment. That sounds good, but remember, we have the option to control what is around us. Everything impacts us, and the biggest contributor to happiness is our own thoughts and behavior. Yes, we can redirect a few things and create a happier self at any age.
Makes sense, but what about the big elephant in the room - social media? It touches all facets of our lives. Did you know 1.93 billion people on average log into Facebook daily or that Instagram has over 2 billion active users? Facebook generates 4 million likes and 35 million status updates each minute. How about this? Facebook has more than 350 billion photos already uploaded. Pinterest has 444 million global monthly active users doing more than 2 billion searches monthly. There are 5 billion boards on Pinterest and cumulatively there are over 200 billion pins. (Source Social Pilot)
Are you one of the billions who enjoy social media or is it a source of stress and frustration for you? It doesn’t have to be negative. It’s all in how you manage it. Control what comes to you. Scroll through your various accounts and unlike, unfriend, and unfollow anything that doesn’t bring you joy. Make social media benefit you.
There are many studies focusing on social media and children or young adults, but very few for more mature adults. Keith Hampton, professor of media and
information at Michigan State University did just that. The findings suggest that mature adults can benefit from social media. If you are truly engaged by posting, commenting, offering suggestions or advise you feel better. If you scroll endlessly past posts, you feel worse. Quality time spent on select social media pages or groups can be healthy and enjoyable. Be aggressive and clean out what doesn’t make you happy. “Today, we have these ongoing, little bits of information popping up on our cell phones and Facebook feeds, and that ongoing contact might matter for things like mental health,” said Hampton. Read the full study here.
There are so many reasons to be unhappy, but we must resist it. Taking happiness seriously will improve our physical and mental health. Let’s nurture and protect it. We don’t have to stroll around town looking like a Cheshire Cat, but we can walk on the sunny side of the street.
Here are helpful suggestions from a few experts.
Invest in relationships by surrounding ourselves with happy people. When you are happy it helps someone else refresh their happiness.
Expressing gratitude means more than saying thank you. Embrace all that is around us.
Be optimistic and don’t let negative thoughts cast a shadow over positive thoughts because there is much more that is right than wrong.
Find purpose and set goals big or small. Have fun.
Live in the moment and enjoy the smallest of things about today instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
Control what social media you give your time to. Make it work for you.
Keep Humor in your life. Happiness is the key to wellness.
Remember, nothing takes the place of spending time with family and friends, having a good attitude or being optimistic. So, consider social media your break room or your bench at the park. Your happy place. Be intentional. It’s not about them, it’s all about you. You have control of your social media. When you’re happy, you make others happy, and that’s a good thing.