With our social and professional lives moving online at an ever-increasing pace, it might just be time for a light digital detox to give our newsfeeds that much-needed boost.
Social media platforms are a powerful medium for creating narratives, with what we see online influencing our outlook and how we perceive the world.
The hyper-connected nature of sharing content online means we’re increasingly sensitive to what other people post.
Analysing the emotional content of Facebook, researchers from the University of California found that a bad mood can spread like wildfire. ‘One negative [weather] post by someone in a rainy city influences 1.3 negative posts by friends living in dry cities.’
Negativity is contagious, and we’re all guilty of following people who bring us down – those peripheral ‘friends’ who negatively impact our newsfeed.
But the good news is that positivity is even more infectious, inspiring 1.75 more happy posts.
Social media allows us to shape our own life stories. We can start to redefine the societal narrative by sharing inspiring content, challenging people to consider different life-choices and venture to new places.
From zip-lining through the jungle to watching sunrises from a live volcano, there’s never been a better time to spread positive, uplifting moments encouraging others to live life to its fullest.
There’s a world of big moments waiting to be experienced – and it’s still awaiting you in your 30s and 40s.
So with that in mind, here are some simple steps to ensure that your social media platforms are surrounded by only good vibes:
Evaluate your intentions
Ask yourself what purpose social media serves you; this allows you to adopt a tailored approach to your digital detox.
As lifestyle blogger Sophie Davies says, ‘identifying what you want from social media… can help clarify how and why you use the platform, whether it’s adding value to your life or distracting you from things that do.’
It may be useful to consider whether you use online profiles for connecting with friends from across the globe, or whether your intentions are more professional, such as sharing content and building out a follower base.
Maintaining a distance between your private and professional profiles allows you to cultivate specific online personas that aid you towards your goals, cutting out the aspects that add more noise than substance to your newsfeed.
Social media sites give you space to explore the things that truly interest you, whether that’s exploring the culture of Japan or fulfilling a dream of venturing into Chile. Fill your newsfeed with positivity – the boost you need to go your own way.
Why your friends’ list needs a digital detox
It may feel harsh, but cutting out meaningless connections clears space for the light to shine through.
According to Oxford anthropologist Robin Dunbar, human brains struggle to maintain more than 150 friendships in the real world, and it’s a number that translates equally to online relationships.
That means that many of us are cluttering our newsfeed with tenuous connections, creating distractions that may overwhelm us mentally.
With a nod to Dunbar’s Number, psychologist Maria Konnikova says, “With social media, we can easily keep up with the lives and interests of far more than a hundred and fifty people. But without investing the face-to-face time, we lack deeper connections to them, and the time we invest in superficial relationships comes at the expense of more profound ones.”
With that said, carrying out a digital detox on your friends’ list is the perfect chance to ensure that you’re surrounding yourself with the online relationships that add significance to your life.
Fill that new space with empowering content that motivates you to achieve life’s big moments. Seek out micro-influencers and bloggers who show you a whole new world.
Redirecting your focus in this way to inspiring brands and people creates a positive feedback loop, which will transform your social media platforms into spaces of creativity and innovation.
Spring-clean your profile
Decluttering your domestic surroundings is key to achieving greater headspace, and this is equally true when it comes to our digital lives.
Our online profiles embody how we want the world to perceive us. Inevitably, the longer we use social media, the more baggage we accumulate.
As our intentions and personas evolve over time, it’s useful to clear out old posts and images that no longer serve our goal.
Carrying out a light digital detox is the perfect moment to perform a quick ‘brand check’.
Sophie Davies highlights 5 key areas in which we can refine our personal online identity:
- Profile image
- Bio and description
- Cover image
- Shared URLs and icons
- Previously shared content
Honing these elements of your profile allows you to identify whether you’re sending out the right kind of message, whether the content you share is relevant to what you represent, and whether you’re attracting the right people to your profile.
With that in mind, a light digital detox allows you to cultivate your profile according to your personal outlook and beliefs to attract like-minded people, in turn creating positive social networking experiences.
When social media starts to dictate the rhythm of your private life, it’s important to set boundaries.
This is made increasingly difficult given the mobile nature of social media. Our digital worlds now live out of our pockets, but it’s important to maintain the life balance between our online and offline worlds.
As psychologist Mark Griffiths says, ‘as social media is most frequently accessed via smartphones, their usage is intimately intertwined and their mobile nature contributes to excessive checking habits, which often derives from what is commonly labelled as the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO).’
Griffiths outlines a few pointers for a digital detox: ‘This can include simple steps, such as turning off sound notifications and only allowing yourself to check your smartphone every 30 minutes or once an hour. Other simple steps include having periods in the day where there is self-imposed non-screen time and leaving your smartphone in a separate room from where you sleep’.
Social media can give us the motivation to follow our own pathways, but ultimately, it’s the experiences we encounter in real life that truly shape us. So let inspiration guide you away from your phone and towards incredible life-changing moments.
Spread a little positivity
With research showing just how infectious positivity is, a digital detox makes way for you to surround yourself with people and brands who inspire you to live life to its fullest.
Share those epic wanderlust moments experienced from the top of a mountain, or from the white sands of distant lands; the adventure doesn’t stop at 30. It’s about inspiring others to challenge the societal narrative and reclaim life’s big moments.
This article is part of a series called ‘Don’t Believe The Narrative’ – we’re rewriting the script for the over thirties; turning the spotlight on those who CHOOSE a different path; celebrating the adventurers and won’t settle-downers. Because this life stage doesn’t have to be all about babies, weddings and work promotions, just because the script says it should. You write your script, you choose your best moments – from epic travel tales to dinners with travel BFFs. Share them with us on Instagram using #DontBelieveTheNarrative.
Check out these 3 inspiring micro-influencers to inspire you with wanderlust:
Kat Farmer @doesmybumlook40
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On a dolphin hunt… although yes, on reflection, this does look Jaws is about to launch itself at me from the back of the boat ???? And boy did we see a lot of dolphins… ones doing backflips too…?.. they literally gave us a dolphin show ? , followed by a rainbow ?.. For a second I thought we were perhaps in The Truman Show.. it was just too perfect. Today is snorkelling. I am staying on the boat. It’s one thing I have tried and tried and absolutely hate. Still marginally scarred by a panic attack on a diving course in a swimming pool in Cuba about 20yrs ago. ??? I was the sum total of about 4ft underwater. You would think I’d fallen overboard in The Perfect Storm. ?The. Shame. Panicked I did and since then I still struggle with anything that means I can’t breathe through my nose. I had considered the full face mask but the guys here said they can leak which is apparently even more scary ?? So you can find me on the back of boat, listening to Islands in the Stream topping up the tan. ?? (whilst trying not to throw up as, I’m not going to lie, I’m not the best sailor out there ???) #ad @shangrilamaldives @destinologyholidays #privatehideaway #shangrilamaldives #familyholidays #luxuryholidays #ootd #wiwt Dress @hansine.co (gift current) – Hat @annabel_brocks (gift current) – Sunglasses @chloe @veryexclusiveuk (ss17)
Kat Farmer is an Instagram micro-influencer blogging on life in her 40s. Check out her Instagram for tales of urban living and gorgeous tropical getaways.
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. Pilgrim’s Passage . ?? The Kumano Kodo is an ancient network of pilgrim trails in Japan’s southern Kansai region. The pilgrimage routes developed as a way for people to navigate the sacred lands of the Kii Peninsula and make up some of the most stunning Japanese vistas we’ve seen so far. – We spent 2 days trekking parts of the route, through gorgeous forests, up seemingly never ending mountains and past beautiful ancient shrines. – This was a truly unique experience and a completely different side to this magical country. Thank you @rulew for the tip, nailed it! – #mrfoggsjourney
Charlie and Jess are a London-based travel duo passionate about seeing places through the eyes of locals. Check out their epic adventure pics for travel inspiration.
Roaminggreen is the brainchild of environmental scientist Chloe Price, who posts inspiring images of the great outdoors with a subtle ecological subtext, reminding us why we should all love nature.
Feeling the wanderlust? Fill your newsfeed with moments from our beautiful Bali trip:
Create your own big moments worth sharing on this stunning paradise escape. Explore an underwater world of coral reef, discover a World War II shipwreck and experience sunrise from a live volcano.
Images: Unsplash, Flash Pack, Shutterstock