Lightening My Mental Load Online

My computer was in for service again and that’s why I haven’t posted in a while.  Over the past couple of years I’ve had a lot of bad luck with computers.  Hopefully, with the replacement of pretty much everything inside of this one, my troubles are behind me.

I’ve been trying to evaluate what causes me stress and anxiety.  A lot of it is things that shouldn’t bother me, things that most people do on a daily basis like talking on the phone or grocery shopping.  One thing that I get a little too emotionally involved in is politics.  For me, politics is a lot like college football for other people.  I wave my little flag and cheer for my favorite players.  For some, however, it’s a great source of anger.

This past year, and even going back to the last presidential election, I’ve lost a few friends who took many of the things I said personally.  If I supported a conservative who wasn’t in favor of, say, minimum wage increases, then they “can’t even begin to understand” why I would support him.  Even if I tried to explain it was related to something else.

My friends are very important to me.  Maybe I hang on to them too hard.  I get very sad when I find that a close friend is avoiding me.  Whether it be in person or on Facebook, it really affects me.  I’ve had friends for 20 years who suddenly unfriend me on Facebook and wont speak to me in real life because of some politician.  I decided it wasn’t worth it anymore.

It wasn’t an easy task but I have gotten rid of all politics on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google plus…).  I’ve also unsubscribed to all politics related emails.  I went a step further.  Facebook has a neat feature where, if your friend posts something, instead of hiding all of their posts, you can hide things from where they linked it from.  I’ve hid all the major cable news sources from my Facebook feed so when my friends post links from these sites, I wont see it.

Then I got to thinking about Facebook’s algorithm.  Facebook doesn’t show you everything your friends post.  It tries to decide what you want to see.  In the past I would “like” or comment on news articles and it seemed my whole feel was nothing but links to stories about politics.  And there’s nothing positive that comes out of any of those stories.  On a side note, there’s a local TV station that posts everyday asking “What’s bugging you today?” but they never ask what good is happening.  I digress…

I started to seek out posts when my friends were simply talking about what they were doing or pictures that they had taken themselves.  I started to like or comment on them.  After about 6 hours of this, a lot more “text only” posts were popping up.  I would like and comment them as well and by day two I had gotten rid of all the negative news links!

I’ve also stopped commenting on anything news or politics related that my friends post.  I’ve stopped watching cable news on my lunch breaks at work and I’ve stopped following local news other than weather.  This has definitely lightened my mental load and I honestly don’t think I could have handled it.

It has been about two weeks now and I honestly feel like I’m starting to see more positive in the world.  Only time will tell how much more positive I’ll see it.

Be well.  Be positive.

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