In a world where over 3.6 billion people use social media, it has become a big part of our lives. Whether you love it or loathe it, it can be really beneficial for staying connected, promoting businesses and meeting new people.
But of course, there is the darker side to social media, where bullying occurs, and where people are ‘triggered’ by what others are posting. That can range across anything from someone’s appearance to how successful their riding is whilst you are perhaps struggling.
In this blog, I want to share with you five ways in which you can control your thoughts around what you might be seeing on social media which could cause an emotional reaction for you.
1. Don’t compare yourself to others
We are all told this regularly aren’t we, but it’s so much easier said than done. When you compare yourself to someone else’s social media profile, you are comparing your whole story to perhaps an eighth of someone else’s story. They might be posting all these amazing photos and results online, but they could actually be really battling their own challenges inside. I got a wake-up call about this the other day when an old friend of mine got in touch for some coaching. Online it looks like her and her horse are absolutely flying and getting some incredible results. In real life, she’s on the brink of giving up riding all together.
2. Reframe your negative thoughts
Are there certain thoughts which come into your head when you see someone else doing well? Perhaps you think ‘that’s great for them, but I didn’t start riding young enough to progress that far’ or ‘I am not confident enough to try that’. When those thoughts appear, write them down on a piece of paper and then cross them out (that bit is rather cathartic!). Underneath, rewrite them as a positive version of themselves such as ‘I am a confident rider with the ability to try new things’. It will feel odd at first but keep trying it, it eventually becomes more natural.
3. Write yourself a ‘success list’
A success list is a list of ten (or more!) things that you have achieved in your life. You might be thinking you haven’t done ten things that you’re proud of, but I promise you, you have! Write out a list of 1-10 and get your thinking cap on. It can be absolutely anything and it doesn’t have to be something major like riding around Badminton! To give you an idea, mine includes: moving across the country from my friends and family, completing a degree and passing my HGV test. This will be helpful when you feel disheartened by other’s success, because you can remind yourself of all of the amazing things you’ve done yourself!
4. Remember why you’re doing this
Why do you ride? For most leisure riders, it’s to have fun and enjoy yourself. So if it’s starting to cause you major stress and anxiety (above and beyond the stresses that horses cause us anyway i.e. vets bills!!) then something needs to change. For a lot of people, going to the yard and riding provides an opportunity to ‘escape’ other things that are going on in their lives. If you’re not enjoying it anymore, think about why not? Is it overwhelming nerves? Fear of being judged by others? Lack of confidence? Any of those things can be improved by working on your mindset, so don’t worry!
5. Be careful how much, and when you look at social media
I actually give myself a social media curfew! For the first and last waking hour of my day, I do not allow myself to scroll through social media. Why? Because in those time frames, your brain is in a ‘beta’ state. In simple terms, it is operating in a way that a toddlers brain operates. It takes in everything you’re ‘feeding’ it and stores it as a memory or belief. Therefore, if you are feeding it negativity and emotional reactions such as frustration, sadness or wanting to give up, then you’re getting your day off to a really bad start! It holds onto those feelings throughout the day, and further. Instead, start your day thinking about the positives in your life, think about what you’re grateful for and perhaps try a short guided meditation. Once you’ve done that, you can allow yourself to catch up on social media. In the evenings, chat to yourself in your bathroom mirror. Congratulate yourself on at least two things that went well that day. You will find yourself reacting very differently to certain social media posts if you start and end your day like this!
Whatever you do, please remember that social media is essentially someone’s ‘shop front’. Some people are totally transparent and open about the highs and the lows in their life. However, there are a lot more people who are not open and honest with it, and you will only see their highs. It can feel really deflating if you start to believe that they only have success, and that they are not experiencing the same challenges you are.
Everyone is fighting their own battles, their own challenges, it’s just that some share more about it than others.
Keep going, keep finding the positives in your life and your riding and you will start to see a real improvement in how easily your daily life flows.
Sophie from Evergreen Coaching is a certified Life Coach and NLP Practitioner supporting riders and business owners master their mindset to overcome challenges, achieve success and accomplish their dreams. You can find out more about Sophie on her website: www.evergreenmindsetcoaching.com, Instagram: Instagram.com/evergreencoaching_ or email Sophie directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.