Mind IS Matter: How Changing Your Perception of Social Media Changes Your Reality

In late 2010, my dad bought me an iPod touch for my birthday. I remember counting down the days and showing off to my brothers how I was going to have this awesome device that I could play games on whenever I wanted. Cut the rope? Downloaded. Off-brand texting app? In the bag. "Nobody's Perfect" downloaded from Limewire ready to sync onto my iTunes library? Of course. 

That's what got me so excited. It was like my Nintendo DS on crack because I didn't have to beg my mom to go on a Game Stop trip to get the latest Pokemon but could rather download it by navigating to the App Store on my home screen. The possibilities for a ten-year-old were nearly endless. So, what has changed? How do we view our phones now, and why is that different from their function back in 2010? 

My parents' Blackberries and former Motorola Chocolates were used for communication. And that was it. Communication– to call Bobby and ask what time we should head over for Shabbat or to call my elementary school to let them know I have to get picked up early for a doctor's appointment. Sure, Brickbreaker and BBM were fun and all, but limited to say the least.

And what now? The Internet has created an environment for communication overdoses with our generation's new addiction to social media. But why? Why are we so infatuated with other people's lives, and how can we change that, even if possible? 

This infatuation with other people– with other people are doing, who they are hanging out with, where they are going, how their life seems to be– stems from a disconnect we have with ourselves. We feel a spot of emptiness, a lack of fulfillment, so we have to return to engaging in other people's lives to fill that void. Sure, sounds overly complex and ridiculous, but think about it. When you are having a super busy day and hanging out with people that you totally adore, are you on your phone as much as when you are bored?  

We all wait in bathroom lines and turn to Snapchat or Instagram stories and mindless scrolling. We don't look around us and take in the scenery- lie present- but rather dive so deeply into our screens that we lose track of both time and position. Ever ask yourself, "Woah, how did I get here?". 

The stimulation our phones give us is one that we are addicted to, but only because we have given our phones the power to do that. So, here's the fix: we have to take away that power. How? 

The secret lies in the power our mentality and mindset have to morph our reality. Everything is as it is because our perception makes it that. Nothing else. YOU make everything what it is. Really! If you're doing homework with the mindset that you hate it, that it's so boring, then your experience is going to be dreadful. But if you do your homework with the mindset that chemistry is your favorite subject, that this is what you love to do, then bam. Your experience has completely changed. It's all in your head. 

So, apply this to social media. Ask yourself your true purpose in using each app and why you are active on that app. Really. Is Instagram really to stay in touch with friends? Is Snapchat really just to use fun filters and send "fun" pictures? Why do YOU use each app? The moment you change the purpose of the app in your head is the moment your use of it completely shifts. Here's what I mean: 

For me, I use Instagram to share humor, send funny memes to friends, and (hopefully) inspire. I want to spread good energy and Instagram allows you to do that. I don't use Instagram to keep up with gossip or who is hanging out with who or who just broke up. I use it to get inspired, to find amazing people doing amazing things. The ability to connect with millions is only empowering if you let it be as its power to destruct is just as prevalent. 

The same with Pinterest. It inspires me. So, I took a few apps and rather than putting them together into a "Social Media" folder, I titled it, "Inspiration." Changing the name helped me view it differently. Did anything change? No. It's still a piece of paper that you are going to answer questions on and turn in and hope you performed well. The name changed and so did your perception and overall feeling towards that exam. Changing "Social Media" to "Inspiration" lies parallel. You are giving Instagram the power to inspire you, not waste your time as deemed "social media" does. 

I then went around and changed the names of a few more of my folders. I made a folder and titled it with the brain emoji, so I know using those apps is to stimulate me, grow my knowledge and relax me. I threw Snapchat, Netflix and Reddit into a folder titled, "Just For Fun" because I know those apps are just to have fun on, nothing too important or pressing. 

I use Twitter primarily to learn from others as it is, in essence, an interactive news source. So, I threw it into my News/Info folder rather than where it would typically be: "Social Media." I just gave Twitter the power to teach me rather than waste my time. Because now, I am using Twitter for that sole reason. To gather new information, learn and share. 

As a result, I am using these apps for different reasons, the right reasons. I don't mindlessly scroll through Instagram but rather share what is funny, exciting, inspiring or important to me. I go on Snapchat to share humor with friends. I go on Twitter to see what's going on, just as I use my news apps. Everything functions as it does because you let it. Want to change something? Change what's in your head first.