There Is No App for Happiness
(Page 2 of 5)
It may come as a surprise that Strom doesn’t advise logging off Facebook for good. “I’m not against social media,” he asserts. “I’m pointing out [...] the habitual use of it and dealing with people you don’t even know—not keeping track of someone who lives in Europe and you live in America. Some people do this hours a day. They can’t walk out the door without checking their Facebook.”
Recent research backs Strom’s assertion. A University of Gothenburg study of Facebook users found that while 85 percent of the 1,000-person sample use Facebook daily (with the average for all users at 75 minutes a day) less than half feel they really need it to keep up with friends. It begs the question, why use it so much?
“The second part is,” he continues, “studies now show that human beings communicate 90 percent non-verbally. If we’re choosing to use text as our predominant method of communication, and that includes email, we’re having a 10 percent relationship. And putting smiley faces or frown faces at the end of a sentence is not the same. It’s almost like this is the new white sugar of our time. The more we eat, the more we want and the worse we feel.” Notably, the Gothenburg study found that women who used Facebook the most also reported the lowest levels of happiness and contentment with their lives. A U.S. study by The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt found that 32 percent of Facebook users reported feeling sad as they looked at friends’ pictures on the site, comparing those photos to their own.
But if social media don’t actually make us happier, can we be convinced to try something else? Strom hopes so. “We need to turn our attention more toward our innate, internal technology that we already have, and have had. We already have all the apps we need inside of us. But we need to start using them.” He recommends “three imperatives” that constitute something of a first aid kit for re-centering and restoring happiness.
The first is beginning a practice of self-awareness. This has roots in the Buddhist practice of self-inquiry, Strom explains. “You ask yourself questions, you get to know yourself so that you really do know what your strengths and weaknesses are, what your gifts are, what your ethics are, clearly. Your desires and motivations. Simple questions to begin with, such as, ‘How do I define happiness?’ Most people that I speak with really aren’t clear, it’s more of a vague notion. But everybody says they want it. If we’re not even clear what it is, how can we expect to get it?”
Page: << Previous 1
| 2 | 3
| Next >>