It’s 5:00 p.m. and you’ve just returned from a wonderful day at work. You remove your shoes, grab your favorite beverage and fall comfortably into your recliner. After a quick scan of the television menu, you reach for your cell phone and as is customary for this time of day, you begin to peruse your Facebook newsfeed. After a few short minutes, you put your phone away and the following internal dialogue ensues, “Why do I even bother looking at this? It’s so full of negativity and my mood is rarely heightened as a result of looking at it.”
Can you relate?
I’ve always maintained that Facebook, and the internet as a whole, is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that one can literally say whatever they want. The curse is that one can literally say whatever they want. The biggest challenge when it comes to other people freely voicing their views and opinions is the fact that each of us possess certain emotional triggers, which often result in less than desirable moods. Whether you realize it or not, your mood (or energy) can be greatly affected by simply viewing a series of posts on Facebook.
Personally, I’m very clear on what my main trigger is. There are times when a Facebook friend will share a message with the sole intent of ostracizing a certain group of people (i.e. Republican or Democrat, black or white, etc…). To add fuel to the fire (or my trigger), these types of posts are often accompanied with an article that supports why their belief is the absolute truth. I find myself rushing to judgement and thinking things like, “Does this person even know what empathy is?” The result is often intense feelings of frustration, or even anger at times.
Go back to the fictional scene at the beginning of this blog.
You’re just returned from a wonderful day of work.
A wonderful day is typically accompanied by great energy and a sense of personal power. Unfortunately, this energy or power can vanish in mere minutes, simply by reading a Facebook post. It seems silly, but I’d wager to bet that it’s happened to all of us.
If you’re interested in continuing to read your Facebook posts, yet would like to possess a few mental toughness techniques that will ensure your mood stays the same regardless of what you’re reading, I can help you.
Technique #1 – Know your triggers.
I’m guessing that a large majority of your time on Facebook is passive in nature. In other words, you’re not fully present to what you’re reading. It’s kind of like watching the television, but not really knowing what you’re watching. Well, because our triggers are subconscious, they will pop up when we least expect them. There are even certain words that may trigger various emotions.
Knowing your triggers essentially means that you spend some time identifying what kinds of posts lead you to your ugly place. I mentioned mine above. Armed with this awareness, you’ll be less likely to allow your mood to drift as the awareness alone will provide you with an opportunity to manage the emotion.
Technique #2 – Know that Facebook posts don’t have the power to “rent space in your mind.”
Think about it. A Facebook post is nothing more than a series of words or images that appear on your computer screen. The words and images themselves have no power. It’s the meaning we add to them that gives them power. Think of your mind as a beautiful 5-star resort. It’s the most precious real estate you own. As the owner, you decide who (or what) is going to take up space in your resort. Are you going to allow someone’s negativity rent space in your mind? As my wife often says, “Don’t give crazy the keys.”