1. Deeper and smaller
Okay, so we’re getting past the stage of the more Facebook friends you have the cooler you are but the numbers are still ridiculously high. Dunbar’s number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships with. It’s around the 150 mark. Between the multitude of platforms, it can feel like a mile wide but an inch deep. Here’s a chance to cultivate the relationships that are most important. .
2. Reclaim the lost hours of February
The scroll! Twitter to Facebook to Instagram. Almost all of us get caught in a mindless scroll south. One last time before bed. At the dinner table. Even driving. Plus a few WhatsApp group messages to deal with to add to the chaos. Take back the hours we’re losing in the shortest month of the year and challenge yourself to feel the feeling of resisting the scroll!
3. Shape, Colour, Texture
‘Text neck’ is the latest in a mighty volume of research that confirms scientifically what we already know from looking up and looking around us. Leave down the phone. Take a minute to identify the shapes and colours around you. And then touch something. Feel the texture of it. Its a really effective method of tuning it to your surroundings.
4. Resist the pull of marketers
Nir Eyal is a marketer that specialises in designing content that affects behavioural patterns to create an unconscious desire to continuously go back to that content. His latest blog post came with an admittance that he’s now hooked in himself and needs to move away from the virtual world in order to develop his relationship with his daughter. We’re all unconsciously being affected by ‘tricks’ that keep us locked in to patterns that don’t serve us.
5. Share photos ‘old school’
With the sheer volume of pictures our friends are posting now more often than not the intricacies of our pictures aren’t even being seen. How about digging out a few older photos, printing them out before February and going down memory lane with a few friends. No phones needed to distract us over a coffee or a pint.
6. Focus on you
Constantly focusing and leering into others lives, especially the augmented version of their lives, can negatively impact our self esteem. It leads us away from ourselves. Tuning in to you, even if the feelings are uncomfortable, is a worthwhile, lived experience.
7. Daydreaming is okay
Getting lost down the rabbit hole of an old memory or a wild desire might have gotten you in trouble in school, but it’s not going to do any harm in the real world!
8. Not knowing is okay
I love science. More knowledge. Education is undoubtedly the way forward. But there’s something to be said for not having the answer at your fingertips all of the time. There’s conversation in the mystery. I wanted some confirmation on what happened at the end of Birdman recently. Check online, I thought to myself. The world’s opinion would inform my own. And then I had a thought I haven’t had for a while. I decided to go with my own intuition and it gave room for my imagination to stretch it’s legs. It was a beautiful experience.
9. Multi-tasking can be damaging to our brain
Projections are in the real world too, as common as in the virtual world in some respects. But the ability to listen, to discern, to take apart the subtleties of conversation will drastically improve with a less chaotic mind. The chaos that goes hand in hand with the litany of social media outlets vailable to us, each demanding something different of you. Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at MIT and one of the world experts on divided attention, says that our brains are “not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.”
10. Late night scroll
Shut down the laptop. Set your alarm. One more scroll on the phone. Twenty minutes later and you’re still up and mid chat. How often has this happened! Maybe it’s brought you here right now! Make a change. Bring in an alarm clock. An old school one with that you can give a good belt when it takes you prematurely from your slumber! Allow your brain more than a few seconds to settle itself before the onslaught of the day. This is a huge step in taking back your power over social media.
11. Valentines Day creeping
How will you resist the urge of stalking your ex. I wonder what he’s doing today. Is she still seeing that guy. Valentines Day can be a struggle for those among us that have managed to stay single :) Logging off social media in February will ensure that the moment you’re about to break and type in that name that’s even hard to type, you’ll instead be out living your own bliss, walking through a local gallery or reading in a place of pure relaxation. Who knows who you might bump into!
12. Expand your comfort zone
What can you do that you’ve never done. What frightens you a little bit. I’d like to have my closest eight or nine friends over for dinner. But what if they don’t show. What if the conversation is boring. I don’t know what music to play. I might ruin the dish. So what. They’ll have a laugh at your expense at the worst. And maybe order Chinese food. But that’s good. Because Chinese food is awesome. If it’s too much to think about cooking on top of your busy day just have everyone bring a dish and share it out.
13. Don’t be a slave to irrational requests
Messages and emails have few boundaries. Far fewer at least than the social interaction. The idea of asking someone to do something face to face is a far cry from shooting a quick message to make a request you might not normally make. What does that mean for you? If you’ve issues saying no it means doing more things that are outside of your preferred activities. More time on everyone else’s requests and less on your own necessities. It’s obviously great to be helping people, but virtual requests push boundaries that physical ones tend not to.
14. Less inspirational memes
Don’t get me wrong. I love inspirational memes, stories and quotes. I love them so much that I had to sit down and think why. So I monitored how I felt afterward going down a positive message wormhole and realised that the confirmation bias in the quote actually made me feel like I was contributing something. As though my thoughts were confirmed by the quote, and thus the feeling I had on the same subject was correct. But my behaviour was still in the same loop. I wasn’t living it. Breathing it. I just felt better about myself for understanding it but in a way it actually put me a step further away from actually being it. Read less memes and be your own inspiration!
15. The most important of them all
Give social media a break – So you can take longer showers, go for more walks, make love slower, eat with more enjoyment, worry less, give someone you care about a massage, go for a walk, dance in a queue, talk to a stranger, run down a hill laughing uncontrollably, lie down and close your eyes to a piece of classical music, listen to your own breathing pattern, go on a retreat, create a retreat, experience the moment as it is, go out without a plan, give someone a hug, party with randomers, climb on stuff, jump on stuff. And if you’re really tuned in, spend time looking for the perfect beauty in the infinite imperfectness that’s all around you.
Join us at facebookfreefebruary.com
The Soar Foundation is our charity of choice, and, because we have no costs, every single penny raised goes straight to the running of workshops for teenagers around the country that build resilience and encourage authenticity.