Do you sometimes find social media is a chaos-theory series of infinite rabbit holes? With distractions that spin off from distractions? Full of people being ‘wrong’?
Do you find sometimes you get sucked in?
Write hasty and ill-advised comments?
Lose your focus?
Do you want to change all this?
I have learnt to use my laughter yoga (almost!) all the time on social media and email.
While laughter yoga is often viewed as a ‘Marigold Hotel’ slightly zany group activity – not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course – it can also be adapted into individual, pragmatic day-to-day working practices.
The key is figuring out how to turn group ‘laughter exercise’ activities into personal practices for computer work.
- First, laughter does not have to be out loud. We can laugh silently, on the inside.
With practice, it becomes something we feel. It has the capacity to lighten our mood. When we develop our awareness sufficiently that we realise we are getting distracted, losing our focus, getting fired up, we can use silent, internalised, invisible laughter to help us refocus and calm down.
Why not do it now?
Do a silent, invisible laugh now and see how you feel? Does it change your mood at all? Do you feel more present? Notice whatever you’re feeling.
The more often we take the time to notice being present, the easier it becomes – even and especially on social media.
With practice, smiling triggers this same change in mindset.
Smiling while writing helps prevent over-seriousness and over-thinking. Smiling exercises are core laughter yoga exercises and over time, help us re-wire our brains so we naturally and genuinely smile more.
The relevance here is to remember to do this when at your computer. The smile can be gentle and almost imperceptible, a slight upward-turn at the corners of your mouth, a slight crinkling around your eyes, a slight lifting of your eyebrows. Fortunately, your brain recognises all these signals and responds accordingly, with among other things, a lifting of your mood.
As before, why not do it now and observe any differences you experience?
Remember to be embodied. Moving deliberately and consciously aids embodiment, and transforms social media and computer time.
How can we feel our embodiment while at our computer?
Stretch. Any stretch will do. Just do it.
Feel. Feel your feet, feel your ‘seat’. The practice is to be aware of these areas while on your computer. Wriggle your toes, move slightly on your chair, enough to be aware of sensations here – and notice any change in mindset.
Remember to breathe. We are all likely to have heard this adage many times before.
It is easy and sadly common for our breathing to become shallow, especially when at the computer. Remembering to take deep breaths, and from the belly, helps us refocus, break free from distraction and alleviate any over-thinking tendencies.
It can also help calm us which is sometimes important?
‘Dance like no one is watching; email like it may one day be read aloud in a deposition’
We all need to remember this sometimes?
The goal is to embed these practices into out psyche so that we start to use them unconsciously.
Here are some suggestions from my own practice:
- Practice smiling continuously when composing an email.
- Make a point of smiling and being aware of the soles of your feet while scrolling through your newsfeed.
- Remember to smile and breathe deeply when receiving notifications.
- Practice silent invisible laughter when replying to comments.
- Mix and match these.
Contact me if you’d like a one-to-one to embed these techniques yourself if you want to use social media more effectively and productively.
[ As a core present-moment practice, I have a 2-minute Move / Breathe / Smile video.
Email me ( joe @ joehoare . co . uk) if you’d like a copy? ]
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