5 Ways to Make Social Media More Uplifting

At this point, almost all of us have heard of the Facebook effect: the more time you spend on social media, the more likely you are to feel envious, discontented, and depressed. But for many of us, giving up on social media means feeling disconnected with the world and missing out on a window into our loved ones’ lives. What should we do?

 

This year, 2016, can be the year that social media works for you! Combat the Facebook effect and make your social media experience more uplifting with these five simple tips.

 

1) Pare down your friends list

How many people do you know intimately and care deeply about? Ten? Thirty? Fifty? Probably not 338, which is the average number of “friends” on Facebook. As we move through various stages of life, we accumulate social media contacts from various schools, clubs, church congregations, etc. But rarely do we go back through and clean out our social media profiles as we begin a new chapter of life.

The more people we follow on social media, the more social media has the power to suck us in. Think about it: does it take more time to scroll through thirty followers’ posts or three hundred? Following more acquaintances also makes it more likely that there will always be someone’s red letter day (like engagements, weddings, baby announcements, vacations, promotions, etc.) in your face. Too many Cancun beach pictures in February could make anyone envious and discontented.

Purge your friends list, and be ruthless. Ask yourself, “Do I engage with this person off-line? Do I even engage with this person on-line (other than admiring/coveting their Cancun pictures)?” If there is someone whose social media presence is particularly obnoxious to you, but you are worried about giving offense, Facebook provides an “Unfollow” option that will hide a friend’s posts but keep them on your friends list.

 

2) Choose your social media platform carefully

It’s called the Facebook Effect for a reason. Some social media platforms are just more likely to make us angsty. Research has some data on which social media platforms inspire more happiness (spoiler: Snapchat won), but think about which sites make YOU happy or stressed. Does Pinterest inspire feelings of inadequacy or serenity? Do you love seeing your friends’ pictures (consider Instagram), or do you prefer their pithy remarks (Twitter)?

 

3) Follow inspiring accounts

And be honest. Do you really enjoy politics on your home page? If it excites and wakes up your mind, keep it! If your “fitspiration”, though, just makes you want to go back to bed, quit it. Some people love memes and quotes, others roll their eyes. Know thyself!

 

4) Avoid the comment section

Intelligence, kindness, and politeness are rarely found in the comment section of any part of the Internet. Disappoint the trolls and find something better to do with your time.

 

5) Don’t forget to live!

The most effective antidote to the Facebook Effect is to live a full and exciting life. If social media too often depresses you and fills you with “FOMO” (fear of missing out), perhaps social media is not the problem. The way you feel on social media may only be a symptom of a larger problem. Lurking online feels flat for a reason– it is quite literally a two-dimensional experience! If your life feels drab and unfulfilling in comparison to the world of social media, find something off-line that excites you. Remember that life is made of stages; perhaps this stage has limitations, but the next one may have more opportunities. Stay hopeful, and keep your eye out for a new adventure!

 

Love social media? Click here to read more about giving yourself and your family the best social media experience possible!

“Removed” series highlights our attachment to mobile devices

Photographer Eric Pickersgill has published a series of photographs that highlight just how attached our society is to mobile devices.

 

The series, titled “Removed,” depicts people in ordinary situations using smart phones or tablets. However, Pickersgill has removed the mobile device from the finished photograph. The finished result depicts men, women, and children looking down at their hands.

 

The photographs, one of which is pictured above, evoke feelings of emptiness and loneliness. The irony, of course, is that many of us consider ourselves more connected to friends, family, and society by virtue of the internet. However, in “Removed,” it’s easy to see what we are really missing out on: time with loved ones, moments of everyday life, and the beauty of the world around us.

 

To view the rest of the “Removed” series by Eric Pickersgill, click here.

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4 Ways to Celebrate ‘Back to the Future’ Day

Tomorrow is October 21, 2015! If that date does not look familiar to you, it may be time to re-watch “Back to the Future.” In the second installment of the series, Dr. Emmett Brown, Marty McFly, and Jennifer Parker travel forward in time to save Marty and Jennifer’s future kids. The date they arrive, of course, is none other than October 21, 2015. Here are a few ways to celebrate this (fictional) day in history with your family.

 

1) Watch the “Back to the Future” series.

Of course, your celebration should begin by re-watching the movies. Since the movies contain no superheroes, your kids might not have even seen them yet! If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can stream them for free! If not, you can rent them for $2.99 apiece.

 

2) Re-visit October 26, 1985 and maybe even November 5, 1955.

Gather your kids around old photo albums and yearbooks. If you kept a journal, turn to October 26, 1985 and see what you were doing. Tell your kids about how the world was different, and about what your life was like. What were your hobbies? What did you wear? What music did you listen to, and what movies did you watch? Give your kids a taste of your former self. If you have a parent or grandparent around, ask them about 1955!

 

3) Talk about the present.

In 1985, what did you think the world would be like in 2015. What did you think you would be doing? Have you achieved any of your goals from 30 years ago?

How do we view 1985 today? How similar or different to the ’80s Cafe are our memories of 1985? Ask your kids what they would put in an ’80s Cafe.

 

4) Jump to the Future

30 years from now is 2045. Make a family time capsule to open on this date in 2045. What do you think will have changed in 30 years? How will you have changed? What goals do you hope to have achieved in 2045? Have each member of the family write down their answers and include them in the capsule

What will the people of 2045 consider iconic about the “20-teens”? Which movies, songs, and books will be remembered? Put your predictions and your favorites in the capsule too.

Don’t forget to record your family in 2015: ages, hobbies, goals, funny stories!

 

Online peace of mind may seem like a futuristic dream or a thing of the past, but Clean Router Pro is here today! Visit Cleanrouter.com to learn how we are protecting families online all over the country!

How to Give a Meaningful Compliment

In our culture, compliments are fairly common, but a meaningful comment can brighten someone’s entire day! It costs so little for the giver, but the recipient will remember the words for days, weeks, or even years to come.

So, what makes the difference between a really stellar compliment and a mediocre one? Here are a few pointers to help you hone your skills.

Be specific

“You look nice,” is…. well…. nice, but not particularly memorable. For extra impact, try to put into words what is so “nice.” Is it the clothing? The carefully styled hair? The fresh-from-the-shower look? The confident demeanor?

Just a little more thought on your part could positively shape a person’s self image permanently! It’s worth the effort.

Be sincere

True enthusiasm is easy to spot. Insincerity can be masked, but the effect just isn’t the same as genuine intent. Also, an insincere compliment is often intended to be manipulative, and this gives all compliments a bad name. Don’t do it!

Be personal

What traits does this person value? On what does he or she focus time and effort?

Someone who is struggling to lose weight may really appreciate an image-related compliment. Others may take a compliment on their physique as an insult to their appearance on previous meetings.

A first-class compliment will make the recipient feel personally known and cherished.

Think back to particularly meaningful compliments you have received. What do they have in common? How did they make you feel?

A compliment is one of the best gifts you can give. Make each one count!

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Beyond SMART: 3 more ways to evaluate a goal

We are almost halfway through 2015. How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions?

If thinking about the goals you set six months ago makes you cringe, you are not alone. According to a study by University of Scranton, less than half of those who make New Year’s resolutions are still keeping them six months later.

Luckily, goal setting doesn’t have to be limited to the first of the year. In 2015, why not make set Half-Year resolutions on June 1?

When evaluating a goal, of course you will want to start with SMART.

                               Specific

                               Measurable

                               Attainable

                               Relevant

                               Time-bound

But you don’t have to stop there. Evaluate your goal a little further, and ask yourself these questions.

 

Do I really want to achieve this goal?

Making a change is hard. If your initial answer to this questions is, “Well, it would be nice,” you are probably not sufficiently motivated to do what it takes to achieve your goal. It may still be a worthwhile goal, but, as of this moment, you just don’t want it badly enough.

If you do think that this is a necessary goal for you, search for motivation. Do a little research to understand the benefits of achieving this goal, and the drawbacks of continuing as you are. External motivators like bribes or threats may help initially, but internal motivation will help you maintain your resolve.

Is this a good time to start working towards this goal?

It is always easy to come up with a thousand reasons not to make a change. However, there are times in life where it just is not a good idea to implement one more goal. An impending move, an emotional crisis, beginning a demanding job, a health situation, or the addition or loss of a family member might all be reasons to delay making a significant lifestyle change.

Is this goal in line with my priorities?

If training for a marathon prevents you from working enough hours to put food on the table, a marathon is not in line with your priorities. If missing school for piano competitions is severely hurting your grades, first prize may not compensate for your academic future.

If achieving a goal prevents you from achieving in more important areas, it is not a worthwhile goal.

 

What are some of your current goals? Can you believe 2015 is almost halfway over? What do you hope to accomplish by the end of the year? Comment below!

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Why Mom and Dad Should Work Out

As parents, self care often gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. Exercise in particular tends to be last priority. After all, it often requires changing clothing, more time away from the family (especially if you have small children), and maybe even a drive to the gym. But, sometimes what is good for Mom and Dad is  great for their kids, and working out is a great example of this principle. Here are just a few reasons why.

More energy

Do you ever feel like you just can’t keep up with your active three year old? Academia has found that exercise is one of the simplest ways to boost your energy level!

Monkey see, monkey do

Remember when they were babies, and they would mimic your facial expressions and your vocal inflections? Remember when they were toddlers, and you had to watch your mouth because they would repeat things at the most inopportune moments? Your kids are still watching you, and if they see you take care of your body, they will follow your example.

Longer lifespan

They say that the best part of being a parent is becoming a grandparent. Whether or not it’s true, wouldn’t you like to live long enough to find out? Being more active now will make your golden years more enjoyable and even give you more of them!

Opportunities for quality time

Exercise does not have to be a solitary activity! Go on a bike ride with your kids, explore the woods on a hike, learn to rock climb. Engaging in an activity together will give you time to reconnect with your kids and have meaningful conversations in a relaxed environment.

Here at Clean Router, we believe in taking care of minds, bodies, and families. Visit our FAQ page to learn more about us and what we can do to keep your family safe online!

6 Ways to Feel Happier Today

If hump day has you feeling blue, try these six tips to make your Wednesday a little brighter!

1) Go for a walk

As anyone who has seen Legally Blonde knows, exercise produces endorphins, and endorphins make you happy! With spring finally here, who wants to be indoors anyway?

 

2) Do one thing you have been procrastinating

We all have those tasks that have been on every to-do list for months. Just do one of them. It probably won’t take as long as you have anticipated, and you will be shocked how good it feels to get it over with!

3) Disconnect

Intentionally turn off (and walk away from) all electronic devices. Even fifteen minutes will make you feel a little more free.

4) Celebrate

Does the hum-drum everyday routine just feel too blah today? Find a way to make today special! Is it a work or relationship anniversary? Did your daughter ace a test? See you if can plan a small outing (like going to the park) or pick up a small treat.

5) Say thank you

Did you know that today is National Nurses Day? Drop a line to your favorite nurse and thank him or her for their service. If you don’t know any nurses, thank someone who has done you a good turn recently.

6) Plan a vacation

Or a holiday, or a date, or an outing…. Making fun plans will give you something to look forward to, and putting some thought into an upcoming event will prevent last minute scrambling.

 

The middle of the work week doesn’t have to be dreary! Try a couple of these tips, and finish off this week strong!