After writing “4 Ways to Protect Your Joy”, I realized I missed something that has a big effect on our joy — our lives online.
Now, I’m not suggesting you become a neo-Luddite, move off the grid, and just read paperbacks all day (although If you do, you’re my personal hero). I just wonder how much of our joy is under attack by what we expose ourselves to on the Internet. It’s not just scammers and porn that we have to avoid for our emotional and spiritual livelihood. Sometimes, the way we interact on our everyday sites put our joy at risk.
Here are just a few more ways to watch out for those joy thieves:
- Don’t be a troll.
I bet you think you’re not a troll online, and maybe you aren’t in the strictest, most offensive sense. However, the distance of the Internet sometimes causes us to interact with others in ways we wouldn’t dream of in person. Case in point, I’m sure you have that family member whose political views are vastly different than yours. Do you purposely go to their page to get enraged about their posts? Do you intentionally agitate them with your replies? That’s trolling and it steals both your joy and that of others. Keep scrolling. The Internet has enough people arguing on it.
- Take the Marie Kondo approach.
I’ve never even seen an episode of the Netflix special Tidying Up, but the host’s now famous question, “Does this spark joy?”, aids my decision-making process about what stays and what goes. It easily applies online as well. All those businesses, news outlets, and celebrity pages that you subscribe to? How much joy do you derive from these auxiliary accounts? How often are they filled with information you just don’t need? If it’s not enriching the way you live your life or bringing you closer to what really matters, ditch it.
- Block, mute, and unfollow.
Our walls, feeds, snaps, and stories don’t have to be a constant stream of nonsense. You have control! Almost all social media platforms offer a feature that allows you to remain connected to a person, but not see their posts. So, if that one cousin or old high school friend just can’t stop posting terrible cat videos (wait, hey, those are fun!), one click takes all that content out of your view. After all, the way to be friends with some people is to keep them at arm’s length (digitally anyway).
- Become one of those occasional users.
I have friends who check their social media accounts once every few months. I know, you wonder why even bother to have profiles if you rarely use them. It’s a valid question. Limiting your use of social media may be the key to not bailing on community in its entirety, but not letting it take over your life. Even further, maybe the key to your joy is making your online experience an occasional treat rather than an hourly obsession.
- Evaluate the urge to scrap the whole thing.
I always seem to come across a new article discussing the increase in happiness people feel when they abandon social media altogether. As a reaction to the digitalization of our social world, people are consciously moving toward fewer screens and more real life. For some, the only way that is possible is logging off completely. No one can make that choice for you. However, if you see that your online world makes you feel “less than” more often than not, it may be time to delete a few apps and close the laptop. Your future joy will thank you for it.
Every time we grab our phones to check those apps, we are making a choice. Peace over war. Substance over nonsense. Joy over pain. Choose wisely with every click and post.