Your social bubble doesn’t always reflect real life:

I’ve talked about the danger of falling down internet rabbit holes before, about how being hit on every side by really strong opinions can rewrite your thought patterns. It’s not just online though, it’s also in real life. I don’t seem to struggle with it as much in real life as I do online, but that’s only thanks to having a very interesting and complex mix of friends. But many people don’t get that variety, they hang out with their core group and they bounce all their ideas off of that core group.

This is especially true for students, even more so for college students. You find yourself completely ingulfed in your social bubble and therefore don’t venture far from that familiar comfort. There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable in your social circle and finding joy with like minds, it’s just when people from outside those like minds start feeling like others. It’s when you don’t understand how anyone could have a different viewpoint or opinion on something that it seems like everyone you know holds. It’s when you can’t understand how people form other behaviors than how your group acts in social settings.

It’s when we get tunnel vision because everything outside our normal feels abnormal, even when the actual population is split 50/50 on how to approach a problem.

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Why you should change the world on a small scale instead of trying to on a big scale.

We all like the idea of being that woman or man who changes the world, who goes down in history, or at least, we do a kids, when our dreams aren’t weighed down by the reality of everything. That kid like state often follows people through college, which is why I think college campuses are so activist centered. At that stage I think we part from wanting to be the one that goes down into history and instead want to be part of the group that goes down in history.

It’s a cool notion, but I don’t really think that’s the best way to change the world.

Trying to change things on the big scale doesn’t normally work like it should, and when it does work it’s only because their are a *ton* of people doing the same work on a smaller scale. Without changing daily habits and lives the big scale picture never comes together, because people either resent it or they fall back into their old habits.

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An amateur in many hobbies instead of an expert in one:

I’m good at my hobbies, in some cases I’m great at them, but I’ve always felt like my long held hobbies are somehow less than they are. I know why I feel that way, it’s because from a young age we are told to pour everything we have into something we love.

Those who are good at basketball in school are taught to eat, sleep, and breathe basketball when they aren’t studying. It’s gotten to a point that doctors say the increase in school aged children getting sports injuries has sky rocketed, because a child that used to swim in the summer and play football in the fall now plays football year round, so instead of switching where the wear and tear on your body is occurring it’s the same 24/7.

I know why, sports scholarships are a big deal. Children who are good at a skill can do great things with it if it’s their main focus for most their lives. Children with musical abilities that are nurtured can far surpass someone who picked it up in college or as an adult.

But the side effect of this highly focused approach to hobbies is that people like me who have a selection of favorite hobbies, feels like they’re failing at all of them because they are not only pouring all their time and energy into “the one”.

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Make small changes, take big steps.

Do you know that people with dogs tend to be healthier than people without? Simply because most people walk their dogs, and that additional exercise a day boosts their physical health.

It makes you realize how big those little changes are. That twenty minute walk a day can change your health. So can changing one meal a day. You can change your mental health by spending more time in the sun or simply seeing a friend once a week. By setting a timer and cleaning for only 30 minutes a day, you can change the constant state of your house.

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Lurking: The addiction to online subcultures

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Hello, you might remember over the past two years I blocked all politics from my social media only to add them back in moderation a year and a half later, I added them back in slowly and with a lot of cation. I only allowed certain people back into my space, and that’s because before hand, I became completely consumed in the Twitter subculture surrounding my political party.

And yikes, did it rewire my brain.

I don’t think we talk enough about what the sub-cultures can do, and not just the political ones but the intense niche interests ones as well. Fans become toxic online, which is why I’ve always warned against becoming a “stan”. These cultures are completely addictive. We like to say that we are just addicted to the site. “Oh, I’m addicted to Twitter” sounds a lot better than “I’ve addicted to a small community with extreme views on sexual kinks”. I’ve never fallen into one of those communities, but I know they’re there and have force online.

They’re all over the place, extreme little groups that have very strong opinions on everything from religious extremists to complete anarchists. They are all there, and they are all trying to take root in your brain.

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Practicing your habits and creating pathways.

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I’ve been working the last three weeks on minimizing my screen time. I’m not doing great at it if I’m being honest, I’m still on social media a lot. I work online and I spend a chunk of my down time online. I like feeling informed and I work in marketing, of course I like consuming media!

But in this process, though I haven’t gotten rid of a ton of screen time, I have been spending more time on my hobbies. I’ve been seeing the horse more for longer stretches of time. I might get online afterwards, but the extra farm time counts for something when it comes to my goals and it counts as a lot when it comes to my mental health.

Even slight improvements turn into bigger strides. I’ve read a number of books on forming habits, and I can’t remember which one it came from, but a book introduced me to a new way of thinking about habits. You have to practice them like you do your skills. Even small steps are setting up links in your brain, creating pathways so next time you take another step you can build out even more. Practicing your habits. It’s not that novel of a concept, but as someone who always thought about habits as complete reforms it gave me an insight to how I could realistically improve.

Small steps, always moving forward. I can do that.

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Toxic Gossip.

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You know that famous quote “Great minds discussĀ ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discussĀ people“? I think about that quote a lot, maybe more than normal, but I think it’s true. Not because everyone who talks about people are small minded, but because the action of talking about people slowly makes you more small minded. You begin to look for things to gossip about. You begin to feed on the drama.

I’ve noticed a few people in my life fall down this rabbit hole, or perhaps they were always in it and by hanging out with them I started to trip into it as well. Regardless I noticed the need to talk about people chip away at me. It was only one or two people, but the need was still there, and no matter how those people did me wrong, it wasn’t justifiable to talk about them, because I wasn’t hurting them, I was hurting me.

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