Facebook collects personal information of anyone who creates a profile on their website. They provide options to add your favorite movies, musicians, restaurants, and products to your profile page. Moreover, they have been doing this for more than a decade. Simply stated, Facebook knows more about you than you yourself do.
You may not see anything wrong with this. But think deeply about it. What would someone do by keeping track of your hobbies and the places you visit? The answer is quite simple. They sell you unnecessary stuff that you may not need. For instance, just because you support a certain sports team doesn’t mean you need to buy all their merchandise. But Facebook bugs you with cleverly placed ads every time you login.
How popular is Facebook?
Find more statistics at Statista
Have a good look at these numbers from Statista. In 2023, the number of Facebook users in the United States is predicted to reach a staggering 223.2 million. Currently, in 2019, it is 221 million.
Facebook has reached every corner of the world. Moreover, to increase its popularity in poverty-stricken nations in Africa, they have also started to provide free access to Internet services.
How it negatively affected my life
As I got more acclimated to Facebook, I started to post every significant and insignificant event of my life on my profile’s timeline. I didn’t even check whether it was adding any value to my life or not. Like a sheep, I just followed the masses. I can’t see how Facebook can help a person live a better life.
In fact, it creates mental health problems like anxiety, inferiority complex and internet addition. Over time, these seemingly minor problems can lead to depression and melancholy. I only became aware of these problems by taking a break from Facebook. Otherwise, I was lost deep into the rabbit hole of social media marketing and infomercials.
Facebook has been stealing your personal data in numerous clever ways. It all begins when you create your account and accept all their term and conditions without giving a second thought. This way, they take your legal permission to store your data even if you delete your account.
Moreover, they also track the activities that you perform online. They use browser cookies to store your information in their own database. Facebook keeps your browsing information like your date, time, URL and your IP address. All this information is either sold to e-commerce companies or stored in their database to understand your buying behavior even better.
Taking a break from Facebook turned out to a great decision. Here how it changed my life.
New and Better relationships
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Most online friendships are shallow and untrustworthy. How can you trust someone you haven’t seen in person. By taking a break from Facebook, I had ample space in life for real and authentic people that I met at a bar or in other social events.
I also started going out a lot as I felt the need to socialize and connect. Especially, meet someone I have things in common with. Earlier, it was very easy for me to skip going out on weekends and stay home texting with an online friend or binge-watching the latest TV series.
More time for hobbies
I replaced Facebook with new interesting hobbies that I had always wanted to try but never had the time to. Quitting Facebook allowed me to be free and explore places. I only captured moments that I knew were worth keeping.
I also quit playing Facebook games like Criminal Case and Candy Crush Saga. Such games are highly addictive and can eat up your precious time.
As I stopped posting every detail of my life on Facebook, I felt more safe and secure. Also, by turning the privacy settings to private I was able to keep my friends list and images protected from scammers.
It is a great thing to let your near and dear ones know about new happenings in your life. So, If I want to share something I either call them or text them privately. This saves a ton of time.
Taking a break from Facebook also cleared the brain fog I used to experience. As the unnecessary thoughts began to declutter I started to focus on my work and other important things in my life. So, Facebook also stops you from progressing in your professional life.
Furthermore, I felt less anxious after taking a break from Facebook
It has been an hour that you posted your new picture on Facebook that you took on a recent vacation and no one has liked it yet. What kind of thoughts run in your mind in that first hour of posting an image or a status?
Excessive Facebook usage gave me nothing but anxiety and fear. Also, I felt like I am missing out on something if I didn’t check my news feed once every couple of hours. This kept my mind busy and lead my mind to escapism. Since I took a break from Facebook, I feel more in control of my current and future life.
Don’t forget the fact that, Facebook was started as a social experiment but got commercialized later. It doesn’t make any sense to live your life knowing that you are a just a guinea pig for a –now–large organization like Facebook. So, take a break from Facebook and make the best of the one life that you have.
9 Positive Affirmations You Should Tell Yourself Every Day
It is easier to blame ourselves and shoot ourselves down. What is difficult is getting out of that negative place we constantly put ourselves in. We are our best friends and our number one cheerleaders, but on bad days we often forget that. We berate ourselves and feel more miserable than the situation demands.
Talking to yourself in the mirror every day, first thing in the morning, might not seem like a big thing to do. It might even sound stupid to many. But, hear me out, when I say that by giving yourself positive affirmations you are turning the gears of the law of attraction.
Here are some things you should tell yourself and why you need to believe them.
1. I am enough
This is something that most people have a hard time accepting. When you don’t believe you are enough, you are in constant search of something or someone to complete you and your life. You need to understand that you are enough, other’s can only add to your life not complete it.
“Stand for something. Make your life mean something. Start where you are with what you have. You are enough.”
You are who you spend most of your time with. Even when there is no one, you have you. Learning to appreciate yourself and your worth is essential. Because when you don’t respect yourself, others find it challenging to do it too.
2. I approve of myself and love myself
When you look at yourself in the mirror, make eye contact with your reflection and tell the mirror you that you love yourself. Repeat “I love you” to yourself, till you start believing it. You don’t need to tear yourself apart for every imperfection you feel you have. Those imperfections are what make you the person you are. Learn to embrace them!
“Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be true to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standard for how others will treat you.”
Unless you love and accept yourself, it is difficult to love others. You first need to be completely comfortable with yourself before you try to nurture relationships with others. How you see yourself will reflect a lot on how you treat others. Remember that every relationship begins with you, so strengthen the one you have with yourself first.
3. I am doing my best every day
Overnight success happens to a select few, and even then there are a lot of baby steps that lead to overnight success. Whatever you do every day, big or small, contributes to your success. So, even on bad days, it is important to tell yourself that you are doing the best you can.
“Whatever you did today is enough. Whatever you felt today is valid. Whatever you thought today isn’t to be judged. Repeat the above each day.”
Sometimes, even getting out of the bed can seem impossible and if you managed to drag yourself out of bed, appreciate yourself. Often all you need is a little encouragement to get back on track.
4. I am in charge of my own happiness
When you understand this, no one can change how you feel. This helps you remember that you and only you are responsible for your happiness and wellbeing. When you stop trying to find joy and love in others, you start valuing yourself the most.
“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”
Expectations that you set for others have a way to disappoint you. But, relying on yourself is something that will lead to happiness and satisfaction. You have to become responsible for your own feelings and take responsibility for this daily. That is why you have to remind yourself every morning to not give others the power to decide how you should feel.
5. I am grateful for every day
Being grateful about little things daily helps you see the silver lining even on really bad days. This is why many people start keeping gratitude journals. As a means to counter the stressful lives we lead, gratitude journals have been gaining a lot of popularity. Do it at the end of the day. Write down three things you are grateful for. This helps you remember that today will pass and you will still have a lot to be grateful about.
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”
Most days you have to accept that you do not have the power to change some things. When that acceptance sets in, it becomes easier to deal with everything. Your attitude towards the day also plays a determining role in how you are going to feel. Be grateful to have woken up, healthy and alive, and to get to do things you love.
6. I am proud of who I have become
When you start loving yourself, uplifting yourself and understanding yourself, you will start feeling proud of who you are as a person right now, in this very moment. No one knows the struggles you have faced as well as you do. No one understands the sacrifices you have made as deeply as you do.
“Quit searching for essence in everything you’ve gotten wrong. It’s right there in everything you’ve gotten right. Just get better at it.”
-Chinonye J. Chidolue
Tell yourself that you are proud of yourself for overcoming all the obstacles and learning from your mistakes. Tell yourself that you are proud of yourself for not giving up when it was easy to give up. Tell yourself that you are proud of yourself and self-validate so that you don’t go out seeking validation.
7. I am in control of how I react to others
This somehow collaborates with telling yourself that you are responsible for your own happiness. When you stop giving others power to dictate your emotions, you automatically control how you react to others and to situations.
“Your power to choose can never be taken from you. It can be neglected and it can be ignored. But if used, it can make all the difference.”
Pouring out all your emotions is not a good idea always. Some people like riling others up. When you recognize people like those, make sure to control your own narrative and not let them tell you how to feel. If you don’t like something or someone, try to get them out of your system so that you can live your life in peace. If you cannot change their presence, control how you react to whatever they or the situations bring to the table.
8. I have the power to create change
When you think about any situation that isn’t exactly preferable to you, ask yourself can you change it. If you can, do it. If you cannot, learn to adapt. You might not be able to change that exact thing, but if you believe that you have the power to create change, you will find a way around.
“You have the power to heal your life, and you need to know that. We think so often that we are helpless, but we’re not. We always have the power of our minds…Claim and consciously use your power.”
-Louise L. Hay
Remind yourself that you have the power to change the course of your own life. No one but you is responsible for your life and how you live it. If you believe and work towards it, you can change things to benefit yourself. You can change unfavorable situations to favorable ones.
9. The best is yet to come
Just by saying this, you have set yourself up for a better tomorrow. You just have to believe. If yesterday wasn’t better, today will be. If today wasn’t, then tell yourself that tomorrow will be. The best way to move forward in life is to believe that there is something better waiting for us up ahead.
“Always remember that your present situation is not your final destination. The best is yet to come.”
The idea of that can give you enough of a push to keep going no matter what is going on in your life. By believing that the next day will bring you better opportunities, you are attracting positive energy to surround you.
“Your words control your life, your progress, your results, even your mental and physical health. You cannot talk like a failure and expect to be successful.”
5 Easy Ways to Eliminate Your Phone as a Distraction
With busy lives, the added stress of social media and the FOMO makes going about your day very difficult. You check your phone for one notification and voila! Somehow 3 hours go by. Productivity stays at a standstill. You keep reading for ways to increase your productivity and decrease your distractions, but then somehow again end up on sites that do nothing more than help you waste your time.
“To be honest, I think cell phones were invented by the devil.”
– Joe Hill
Using your phone for hours distracts you from your work, stops you from being productive, gives you FOMO, negatively influences you, creates a false sense of a perfect lifestyle, etc. I could go on listing the adverse effects that using social media has on us, but that is for another time.
Don’t get me wrong; I understand the advantages. I also understand how important social media is for entrepreneurs who are building a presence online. My point here is the moderation of the usage. We all know, using something more than intended does more harm than good. You might go to do some work, but somehow you get sucked down the rabbit hole. It has been said, through research, that a typical office worker needs at least 25 minutes to get back to their original work after an interruption.
“Cell phones are so convenient that they are an inconvenience.”
Honestly, this is not the only distraction you have in your daily life. The people around you have a huge effect on your productivity and your life in general. Social media is the same, following all the rich lifestyle influencers can negatively affect you, and you then go about your day feeling sad or inferior about your life and yourself.
Let’s talk about ways to eliminate the distractions from your life that you bring upon yourself.
1. Carve out blocks of time
Setting blocks of time just to work or just use social media, is a good idea, because of the fact that, the other stuff doesn’t interfere with the decided task. Use the block method to set your calendar. Like, say8 AM to 9 AM is blocked for breakfast. 9 AM to 12 AM for work, and so on. You should set blocks for everything that you need to do daily, this way you can add new tasks around it. You can even go ahead and put these on your calendar so you can stay on task.
You can work with full concentration because you know you will soon be able to check all those posts you like. You can also browse through the net with no guilt in mind because you know you will be getting back to work soon.
2. Turn off notifications
The continuous pings you hear are the biggest distraction throughout the day. You get so used to it that sometimes even the ringing of our doorbell leads us to check our phone for notification. It is very important to shut it down for the period of time you are working.
When it is even remotely associated with work, it is much easier to convince ourselves that we have to check it. Most of the times, it isn’t that urgent. When you use the blocking method, you anyway won’t be away from your phones for long, so it will put your mind at ease that you are not missing anything crucial.
3. Use apps to block apps from using the internet
Sometimes I do need to keep my phone beside me. I cannot just turn off the internet, because some apps I need to use require an internet connection. This was when I discovered that there are apps that block the apps you don’t want to use from using the internet connection.
I use Focus for Mac to block some of my apps from getting internet like WhatsApp and Instagram, and then use the other apps with no notification distraction. This makes the functionality of my phone more flexible for me. Freedom is also a good option.
4. Use web applications
Phones are very convenient to use, which is why we can spend so much time on social media. While working if you feel the urge to use any of the sites that aren’t work-related. If that app has a web application, instead of using the apps of your phone, use the web application on your PC or laptop.
Some features on the app don’t work on the web app, and usually, they are the ones that keep you hooked for long, like the chat feature on Instagram. This way, you will only check the necessary thing, and because using web apps can be a bit of a hassle, it becomes easier to shut the site down.
“Technology offers us a unique opportunity, though rarely welcome, to practice patience.”
5. Use your phone as a reward
I recently wrote an article about tips to overcome laziness. One of the points I talked about was setting a reward for yourself for finishing work. You can use your phone as a reward for working hard without distractions. Rewards are great incentives to get results. Also, this isn’t even a reward that will have a lot of negative effect on you like promising yourself a pastry later would.
The anticipation of browsing the internet will make you work faster, and when you are using social media, you will feel like you earned it. This removes any kind of negative feeling associated with using your phone.
“Cell phones, mobile e-mail, and all the other cool and slick gadgets can cause massive losses in our creative output and overall productivity.”
-Robin S. Sharma
In today’s digital age, it is difficult to not use your phone for long. It has sort of become a lifeline for many people, especially small businesses. But, you should know where to draw a line. Knowing when to put your foot down on your own habits is essential for growth. Recently I stopped using Facebook for a while and realized how it was affecting me, mostly in a bad way.
Unless you realize your problems and unless to accept them as problems, you won’t be ready to face them. Once you have zeroed in on your issue of constantly checking your phone, you can apply small measures to cut back from the habit.
Increasing productivity seems to be a hot topic with everyone. While we apply measures to increase productivity, we forget to make changes to our current lifestyle. Adopting new helpful habits is good, but evaluating your current habits from time to time is also much-needed.
5 Reasons Why Not Meditating is Hindering Your Success
“Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss. Nothing is as rich. Nothing is more real.”
― Deepak Chopra
To meditate means to bring your awareness to the present moment by getting rid of all the unnecessary thoughts in the mind. In the modern world, a lot of people are living their lives in past resentments and future despair. Meditation is the only way to align your thoughts with your life’s purpose and live a happy and fulfilling life.
A lot of people are missing out by not practicing meditation on a daily basis. Luckily for you, there are some clear signs that can let you know whether you need to add meditation to your daily routine or not. In this post, I have discussed 5 reasons why not doing it is hindering your success in life.
Following are 5 points that will help you determine whether you need to add meditation to your daily routine or not.
1. You have no gratitude
Gratitude is the feeling of gratefulness or thankfulness for the things that you have in your life. Everyone is born with certain fortunes and misfortunes, strengths and weaknesses, wealthy or poor, etc and we have no control or choice over that. Being grateful means to be aware of your current situation and choose to look at the brighter side.
Meditation helps you be present in the moment and enables you to see the world the way it is. For instance, a lot of people return feeling renewed and reinvigorated after a weekend of meditation retreat; this feeling is very important if you want to be grateful for what you have. Most people are too busy achieving their goals or working very hard to pay their bills– which are very necessary things– but without taking strategic breaks, life can get very monotonous.
Since the year 2000, scientists have done a lot of studies on how positive emotions work. And they found that having gratitude creates a sense of well-being and brings maturity in one’s life. With recitation of positive affirmations, this sense of well-being slowly increases and we become happier and peaceful.
So, grab a piece of paper and write down five things you are grateful to have in your life. Read and repeat it every morning and start your day on a positive note.
2. You get caught up in emotions
As humans, we are evolved to respond to our emotions more than logic. This worked perfectly fine until 300 years ago. But in modern times, it’s detrimental to rely only on our emotions and feelings. A balance of emotion and rationale is needed.
Daily practice of meditation can help achieve that balance, and you can live your life without being an emotionally fragile person. Imagine, no more anger or lashing out on your loved ones, handling your clients and co-workers with ease, and no more getting angry at your current circumstances. All this is easily achievable by changing your old habits and adding meditation to your current routine.
A recent study done by Michigan Technological University suggests that just an hour of mindfulness meditation session can help reduce stress and anxiety. Dr. John J. Durocher also confirmed that anxiety in the participants was significantly less after a week of daily meditation practice.
You don’t have to meditate every day for one hour if time is of the essence; just fifteen minutes of mindfulness meditation can help you overcome the emotional blockage. Furthermore, if mindfulness does not suit your liking, there are many other types of meditation techniques available that can also help achieve the same result.
3. You don’t get much work done
Do you feel aversion towards things that need to be done? Do you put work off and distract yourself with things that don’t add much value to your life? It is natural to find ways to minimize effort as we want to use our energy conservatively. But sometimes we knowingly procrastinate and cause ourselves harm in the long run.
You can read books on productivity and how to work smarter etc., but at some point, you need to get your hands dirty and do the actual work. Not meditating can keep you permanently in the beginner phase where you are just thinking about doing something but never attempt to do it.
Meditation increases productively by calming the mind so that instead of worrying about things that can go wrong you can focus on the task at hand and see it through. It gets your attention from your mind to your body. Combined with exercises like yoga or Tai Chi, meditation can increase your productivity by ten folds.
It is best to get your mind right by meditating before work but some people prefer doing in later in the night to alleviate the damaging effects of stress.
4. You don’t sleep well
Does the continuous stream of thoughts stop you from falling asleep at night and you have to resort to coping mechanisms like overeating or binge-watching television series until you fall asleep? And I am sure as a result of staying up late at night, you must have trouble waking up in the morning as well. These are common problems faced by living a stressful and competitive life; which most of us are used to living.
Meditating just before going to bed can help you fall asleep faster. Any kind of deep breathing technique done correctly at night time will not only help you get relaxed sleep but also help you quickly get out of the bed in the morning. It’s very common to feel tired after getting up in the morning especially if you worked very hard the day before. Daily meditation practice will help you wake up in the morning well-rested and relaxed.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a technique practiced very widely in western countries by people who need a quick and easy way to fall asleep. In this technique, the person suffering from insomnia is supposed to lie down in a sleeping position and focus on each of his/her muscle group by slightly tightening and relaxing them. It is based on the fact that the mind can only be calm if each part of the body is relaxed and loose. Moreover, it doesn’t take too long to be done. With this type of meditation, you can easily feel deeply relaxed after just ten minutes of doing it.
5. You consume too much caffeine
Do you start your day with a cup of coffee? Can you go without having coffee for a week? How will it affect your day? Most people who habitually drink coffee or any other caffeinated beverage to get their day started will find it almost impossible to quit. Caffeine definitely provides a quick burst of energy upon its immediate consumption but the effects are very short term and also harmful if the intake is unregulated.
Moreover, the sudden crash after the effect of caffeine wears off is unbearable for most people and it makes them crave more caffeine. This is a very common side-effect of most of the spot-fixes that seem to help for a while but are detrimental in the long run.
Meditation can help you become free from the dependence on coffee to get things done. As you will be naturally feeling fresh and energetic, you will feel less need for things like coffee, cigarettes, soft drinks, etc.
To summarize this post, meditation is definitely not the be all and end all solution to all these 5 problems. But with meditation, you can gain enough consciousness to resolve them with a calm and composed mind. Meditation can be performed for 20 minutes in the morning or at night before going to bed, or even both times.
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