What is the first thing you do in the morning to set the tone for your day? A friend and I were discussing this very topic recently. I asked him what the first thing was that he did and I wasn't surprised that his response was "drink coffee!" The java aside, I asked him to recreate his morning routine for me. Here is how it went: While drinking his coffee he checks online into all his social media, then shower, check the Weather App on his iPhone (while there, he "stops by" Facebook again), dress, take the train into his job, and during the ride he reads the news on his phone, and does a last minute check in to social media. By the time he arrives at work he is stressed, feeling pressured and out of sync. And how does he decompress? He plays video games on his computer or tablet! This only serves to keep him in a personal electronic mode and probably emotionally at the mercy of technology.
I happen to think he's like a lot of people who embrace the day through technical means rather than through their spirit. When I say spirit, I'm talking about the essence of a person in terms of how that person feels. I'm not necessarily talking about religion or spirituality. I'm talking about emotion because that is what is elicited through any form of online participation, whether that is through social media commenting or just checking on the Internet or email. It is my experience that when you don't disengage from electronic devices you can very easily become emotionally challenged, creating a great deal of stress that you don't even know you're creating because it has become such a routine in your day to work electronically. Often, that routine extends itself into the late evening and may interfere with our ability to sleep. The chances are good that you even wake up in the middle the night to consult your phone! I can only shake my head as to how that is affecting personal space and life, not to mention relationships and communication.
So what do we do about this? How do we avoid this?
1. Try to make your first act in the morning one that is not electronic. It doesn’t matter what that is, as long as it is a connection that grounds you to your surroundings.
2. Take time to pamper yourself with Me Time, and while going about washing, dressing and preparing for your day, don’t multi-task. Put your focus on what you are doing, rather than take up those minutes on the Internet.
3. Recognize and remember that you are responding based on what's happening to other people, most you may not even know. That “response” can quickly become a negative reaction. Think about what you intend to accomplish by commenting to strangers. Keep that in mind if you feel you must comment on an internet/social media post.
4. While it's good to exercise your right to the freedom of speech, it's important to discern what is worthy of you, and what isn't. Perhaps if you're going to check social media you do so after you've had time to greet the world without all your electronics. It's so much prettier to look at the sun light in the morning rather than at the light from a screen.
5. Meditation is something I can't impress upon you enough. This single form of going within will allow you to be more reasonable rather than more reactionary when you do comment.
6. Finally, when you see something on the Internet or in your stream of social media that is something that you're upset about or even happy about count to five and think before you type. Because basically by reading other comments you are getting completely away from the topic of the article or blog you just read. Instead, you are plagued with the rage and misunderstandings that might be the comments of others.
It is my belief that we really can enjoy social media, the Internet, and computer life if we keep the time we spend into perspective, have a meditative pause before commenting on something, and arrange our time to effectively incorporate the time we spend on line with our daily life. Most people do the opposite, which will always be a negative.
Bottom line: I'm all for social media interaction. I think it's wonderful that we have the ability to obtain information and be inclusive with the rest of the world. However, I also realize that it's very important to create an awareness that allows us to have all of these things in our lives without being electronically attached emotionally. So re-evaluate your approach to how you embrace your morning routine and you may be in for a pleasant surprise. If you find yourself in a quandary, as a last, helpful resort: Check out and relax by disconnecting.