Jealousy, worry, doubt, regret... they've all been around for a while. Throughout history they've caused personal angst, lover's quarrels, and international wars. Philosophers and psychologists, from Buddha to Nietzsche, have pontificated on these themes. They're the mental banes of our shared existence.
Today, we feel the pain from a slew of digital headaches: social media anxiety, FOMO, online procrastination, comments section arguments, notification distractions. None of these are anything new though, they're all rooted in the same problems that've always dogged us as a society.
So if these feelings always existed, why do they feel particularly overwhelming now?
The problem is our amplified digital world. The ubiquity of technology makes everything loud. It puts every image into a spotlight, every voice on a bullhorn, every difference of opinion in front of your face:
The digital world is like putting a magnifying glass on the real world. We zoom in so close--focus so narrowly on quick soundbites and status updates--that we lose context and patience and presence. And like a magnifying glass, the extreme focus creates heat. If we spend too much time on one point it'll set fire to our sanity.
We fight back against the loudness of today's amplified world by being present.
I know I know, easier said than done. I'm certainly not immune to these hold ups, but I am working on it. Here are 3 simple things I try to do every day to quiet the noise of the digital age:
The thing about the internet is, it'll always be there. Instead of expecting to constantly share and be shared with, you can choose to make it a treat. You can choose to use it when you want to use it, instead of letting it use you.
The problems of worry, doubt, and regret will always be around in one form or another too, whether we use social media or not. It's how we handle them that gets us to place of mindfulness, or really, a place of happiness.