Rethinking Facebook, TV and Blogging {trifecta of joy-stealers}

As I wrap up a month of focusing on joy, I've noticed a few things that tend to rob me of a joyful life. Included in this list are TV, Facebook, Pinterest and blogs--all things that take me away from real relationships and put me in front of a screen. None of these are bad by themselves, but they're way too easy to misuse and join together to create a giant joy-stealing monster.

How could these possibly steal joy?

They encourage comparison.
There is no doubt that I know some inspiring people that post on Facebook and I've seen some incredible projects on Pinterest and read blogs of talented women. One person dresses great, another has incredible hair, another writes beautiful blog posts, another is super handy with DIY projects, another plans the best parties, another takes great pictures, another organizes like a pro, another cooks healthy meals at home, and another has a perfect minimalist mentality. Instead of viewing each of these awesome talents and traits and features as they are--separate--my mind groups them together into one fictional super woman. Seriously, how could I ever compare?!

They cause time to disappear.
Ever noticed how a TV show (and thus 30-60 minutes) disappears without hardly knowing it? Or after 30 minutes of browsing Facebook you're not even sure what you've been looking at? Or an hour goes by of pinning away and you only meant to spend a few minutes? When not kept in check, these time-consumers take time away from activities that could be establishing real true joy in my life.

They fog focus.
After a week of incessantly checking Facebook, periodically pinning on Pinterest, reading blogs, and watching "a little" TV, I've spent hours putting my time and attention on other people's lives, in their interests and on their hobbies. Is it any wonder I lose motivation and inspiration for my own life? It usually takes a detox of turning these things off (or limiting them) to pray, journal, read and rediscover my own purpose.

They give a false sense of connection.
When I'm liking something a friend pinned on Pinterest, looking at my family's Facebook photos, scrolling through Instagram, or watching a popular TV show, I feel connected. That's not all bad. Except when that's my only connection to my friends and family. Then I miss the value of having a friend over or talking on the phone and connecting in real life ways. Even a Bible writer said "Heck with this pen and paper business! I have more to tell you and I'm excited to do so in person--and then I will have joy!" (2 John 12)

Is there any way for these to be part of a joyful life?

I don't think I have to delete my social media accounts, stop reading blogs or sell the TV to keep joy in my life. I think I just need to rethink my habits and use of each one.

Rethinking Facebook.
By checking only once a day, I am able to keep up with current happenings of family and friends without falling into the trap of lingering on people's photos that make me feel less than. I can also turn off push notifications on my phone (do I really need to check everytime someone "likes" something?) and mark close family and friends as favorites so I don't miss when they update their status and add photos. When I share my own updates, links and posts, I also need to consider why I'm sharing it. Am I bragging or looking for affirmation? Am I taking an opportunity to be encouraging and positive, or keeping family and friends in the loop? I don't need to be the cause of someone else losing their joy.

Rethinking TV.
The key here is no mindless watching or turning it on for background noise. If possible, we can turn our favorite shows into a social opportunity (like when we watch ABC's "Comedy Night" with friends). Choose carefully which shows to keep up with and limit them. Avoid watching shows in real time so I choose when to watch them. And turn on the radio, Pandora or a CD for "background noise."

Rethinking blogging.
I enjoy networking with other bloggers and getting inspired by their posts. Doing so once or twice a week is enough. Or checking regularly with only a couple of my favorite blogs and leaving the others to check out if I run into extra time. Also, choosing more carefully what I post on my own blog--opting for quality over quantity to make it worth someone's while.

Rethinking Pinterest.
Pinning only those things I really plan on trying or doing. Periodically going through my boards to get rid of things I realize I won't do (I can always search for it later if I change my mind). Plan times to implement ideas I've found. Remember that each idea and recipe and outfit is created by different people, and I do not have to (and simply can't) do it all or have it all.