Confessions of a Facebook addict: Part 2

5 discoveries I made about happiness in Spacebook

Remember those nauseating Magic Eye 3D wall posters so trendy in the 90s that made you go cross-eyed as you stared at them waiting for the hidden image to pop out?

And once you finally SEE the hidden surprise, you just can’t bloodey unsee it?

Their creation was based on research into depth perception by a visual neuroscientist called Dr. Bela Julesz. His discoveries later influenced 70s artwork of wildly eccentric surrealist Salvador Dali – famous for his melting clocks, curled moustache and designing the Chupa Chups logo.

And you thought this was a blog about Taekwondo? Ha!

Well that whole “can’t unsee it” thing happened to me during my recent 30-day vacation in Spacebook – the cheeky name I’ve given my recent self-imposed 30-day ban on Facebook cause I needed some SPACE OK!?

Salvidor Dali

Salvidor Dali

Except while schlepping around in Spacebook, it wasn’t a frankly pretty ugly 3D image I couldn’t unsee.  It was a concept: M.I.N.D.F.U.L.N.E.S.S.

Here’s how it happened…

I waded with trepidation one Saturday into the first hours of my self-imposed 30 day ban.

I wondered how much time I had ACTUALLY been spending on Facebook every day just scrolling, watching martial arts clips, reading articles, tagging friends and generally being unproductive.

Oh and let me be clear, we’re talking about time OUTSIDE of work here. Just gotta slip that one in, you know (eh hem), in case!

Am I suddenly going to feel like I have more time for other things if I’m not using Facebook?

A quick bit of Googling will tell you for the average one of Facebook’s eleventy billion users worldwide, time spent on the app every day is around 30 to 40 minutes.

I’m going to be upfront and say I’m pretty darned sure I was flushing a fair bit more than that amount of spare time down the plug hole every day.

I joked with my husband about calling my love of Facebook an “addiction”. (Pffffft. As if. *eyeroll)

But when I caught myself during the first few days of my ban feeling compelled (often!) to flip open my phone cover and see if there were any notifications –  there were none because I’d removed the app altogether – the funny side of my situation may have worn off a touch.

Mindfulness

So back to whether my life sans Facebook would suddenly gift me with more spare time?

The answer was a resounding YES.

I chewed my way through an impressive (for me) number of books during my 30 days in Spacebook and weirdly, they all seemed to be guiding me in a certain direction – toward a certain realisation.

Mindfulness. The answer to improving my life beyond measure.

And not only that, adopting this approach to my life and thinking would sit neatly within the context of my also recently discovered love of martial arts. The two – mindfulness and martial arts – really do go together like chips and gravy. It’s near impossible to have one without the other, am I right?

(* More on this link in Part 3 of my Blog Series where I chat with a currently competing national Taekwondo athlete about his use of Mindfulness)

You might recall performance psychologist and former member of the Australian Olympic Taekwondo Team Caroline Anderson touched on the topic in this previous blog article.

For me, it was like Caroline opened Pandora’s Box. Reading some further online articles about Mindfulness lead to downloading of an app and then book to audio book to podcast to more books.

I’ll share with you my list of resources later in case you find yourself in ‘Spacebook’ for a while too (I highly recommend a periodic visit!) but for now, I’ll save you the time and just distil everything I read down into a few key takeaways.

I know, I’m quite wonderful when I try.

Before I do though, just one more observation about my time in Spacebook I’d like to share.

Since I was spending all those grabs of spare time on ONE resource at a time, rather than scrolling through the endless and unrelated fragments, snippets and click baity headlines on my Facebook feed there was a greater sense of peace.

Mindfulness

More clarity, more ability to actually digest and absorb the information I was reading rather than making like a strung out goldfish every two seconds.

All of that greatly reduced the enormous sense of overwhelm  growing inside me like a volcano ready to implode.

So yes, I will be visiting Spacebook again from time to time so my firey volcano stays more like an anthill.

Back to the takeaways…

My 5 discoveries about happiness

  1. Too much time spent on our phones is creating a chemical imbalance in our brains leading to increasing tiredness, anxiety and depression.

2. Research has shown that we spend a big chunk of our time not actually focused on what we are doing in the present moment. Our minds constantly wander and when we allow them out on their own for a gentle stroll without supervision, they get a bit sad.

It’s therefore important for happiness and wellbeing to focus on what you’re doing in the present moment. Be Mindful.

  1. Often during these unsupervised excursions that we allow our minds to take, our inner critic turns up because he’s a giant snotface. And you know who he invites along?

Emotions.

Emotions aren’t the bad guys though. They can be really important in helping us make sound decisions. But they can also turn up like a gate crasher, get a bit rowdy and ruin the party.

  1. Mindfulness tools can help you learn to observe your emotions with acceptance and allow them to float on past without wreaking havoc on your focus. Does take commitment and practice though.

And lastly, my personal favourite from happiness blogger Mark Manson! He’s a bit (ok A LOT) swearypants so look away if you need to.

  1. We don’t come with an infinite number of fucks to give. We only have so many. In fact, the supply is quite limited before we will start suffering from the debilitating symptoms of not having enough fucks to give. So people, be mindful where you direct your emotional energy and use your fucks wisely.

My Mindfulness Reading List

If you would like to dive deeper into the concepts explored above, then please do make your way through my recent reading list:

The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life by Mark Manson

Make Peace With Your Mind by Mark Coleman

Fight Like A Girl by Clementine Ford (nothing to do with Mindfulness but a good read all the same)

Podcasts:

Crappy to Happy by Cassandra Dunn

The Mindful Kind by Rachael Kable

Apps:

Smiling Mind

Headspace

 

Other Articles you might find interesting:

Discussions

  1. Mel Reply

    Hi Kristy

    Thank you for writing about your visit to ‘Spacebook’. I love it there and I can associate fully with your 5 discoveries of happiness.

    Although I strongly oppose Mark Manson’s application of language (only because I am a parent of little kids, ha!), I could not agree more with his fundamental message that we actually do have the opportunity to choose where our energy goes. We get the choice every day. We really do – 24 hours a day – 7 days per week! We just need to realise it, take it and own it.

    Nope, we cannot unsee things – ever. ‘Spacebook’ it will always be lurking, trying to tell you something, just like Dali’s melting clocks 🙂

    Thank you Kristy, your post is as enlightening and thought-provoking as always. I am a firm believer in mindfulness and am awaiting part 3 with anticipation already. Please keep writing Kristy.

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