Seven Ways To Stay Happy In The World Of Social Media

So I’m on my flight back from Scotland yesterday, my laptop is on the tray table and I’m looking back and realising it’s been 3 years since I started blogging. I thought – what’s interesting about this? What do people want to read about? What really shouts at me a topic ripe for discussion?

I’ve gone through some amazing highs and of course crazy lows throughout my short blogging career. And sometimes I stop and do a bit of thinking and Googling to try and understand why. There’s a lot of research that clarifies how happiness (and of course unhappiness) is linked to social media. The reason why we all check social media is because it feels good. When someone likes, comments or somehow validates what we’ve expressed, a feel-good chemical in your brain (dopamine) gets released and it makes us feel happy and satisfied – “Yay, I got a like!” On the other hand, social media can also cause so much anxiety – feelings of dissatisfaction, underachievement, distorted perceptions of how others are living and enjoying themselves, and so on.

I get messages from my blogger friends who are doing an amazing job on their blog and social media platforms, but they’re telling me how bad things are and they are having anxiety about it. I look at their accounts and I only see amazing content and gorgeous photos with thousands of likes, but still it’s not good enough. These are big bloggers with huge followings and loads of likes and comments. This makes me wonder, when is it going to be good enough? Are we ever going to be good enough?

Once upon a time, if you asked me how to grow your Instagram, I could rattle off a list of bullet points of how you can do it and it would have worked a treat. Almost like in the old days of SEO where you could trick the internet into making your webpages seem more relevant and important to the world than they really were.

But now, after all of Instagram’s algorithm changes, I honestly couldn’t tell you what to do. I’m subtly trying different things and different strategies and I don’t really know whether any of it works – sometimes it seems to, but maybe that’s just coincidence. Instagram is out of your control. You can’t control it because, unlike a blog or an online shop, you can’t own it. One day I might get a huge amount of likes and on other days it feels like the world just doesn’t notice me. Does this make me feel bad? Yes it does. I’m not going to pretend that I’m some super zen master. It makes me question my judgement, my creativity and how interesting I am as a person. But I asked myself, am I proud of what I put up? The answer is YES. I spend hours planning, shooting, editing to bring what you see on Miss Gunner. I am proud of my work as a creative. Instagram has pushed me to think outside the box. And in a world of platforms where mass popularity drives everything, I think it’s quite cool to avoid the big trends and seek out the niche audiences. It’s not as lucrative, but if I had to change my style to become viral, I’m not sure that I’d be overcome with feelings of contentment…

So here are seven things that help me stay happy, while living in a world of social media:

  1. Your success is not relative to that of others: There are so many amazing creators that I look up to. Their work is so beautiful and amazing. If I keep comparing my self to the biggest and best bloggers in the world, I would probably cry myself to sleep every night. But instead I observe their achievements and appreciate their work and see how hard they have worked for that photo or blog post, and it is something that I aspire to. Even if you become the Beyonce or Taylor Swift of social media, there will always be someone younger, cooler, and more popular rising through the ranks. So ask yourself, “Has my work improved from six months ago?” If the answer is yes, then that’s your measure of success.
  2. Enjoy the journey: When I decided that I wanted to go back to do my 2nd degree at 25 years old, most of my friends were getting married, buying their first house and I was basically broke and going back to university again. I would go straight to my IT job after uni and work until 9pm every night and I worked every weekend to save for rent, books and food. It was hard and I thought I would never be able to catch up to anyone. But I knew exactly what I wanted and I was going to work hard to get it. I put my head down and finished studying and I had so much fun along the way. I graduated and I worked in a job that I loved and paid me well. It allowed me to have the flexibility to start blogging as a hobby and now I’m blogging full time. I get to travel around the world for work and I don’t have to answer to anyone. I make all of life’s big decisions for myself. So all I’m saying is YOU are on your OWN journey, and you need to stop and look at your life everyday and make sure you’re enjoying the journey. Because if you’ve created some version of success based on other peoples’ journeys, you’ll have forgotten to focus on the little things that YOU enjoy along the way.
  3. You ARE enough: As hard as this may sound, it’s so true. We are our own harshest critics, but just make sure you see how far you have come. Stop and give yourself a pat on the back. I’ve learnt from meditating to just be grateful for the things that you have in your life and not focusing on the things you don’t have.
  4. Meditate: I only just started doing this properly 3 months ago, and it’s made a huge difference to my headspace. I’m so much calmer, more focused and my anxieties (while always ready to pop up) are under control. You can start with just 10 minutes a day, and work toward 20 mins in the morning, 20 mins in the evening. (You can thank me later! Hahaha.)
  5. Get out and exercise: Exercise releases dopamine! The same chemical that gets released when you use social media! Just as good as a bunch of likes and comments and you have complete control over it! And it’s obviously not just a mental benefit, it will keep you looking good and fit! Win win! I really love working out and I sleep so much better after I work out.
  6. Socialise with real friends: It’s amazing to connect with people on social media, but there’s nothing better than hanging out with your real friends. People that don’t care about getting a cute shot of you together at a cafe. People that just want to have a good laugh with you and people that really care about you. So make sure you nurture those relationships! They are the ones that will get you through life. (Not your Instagram life!) That friend that will get in their car to come and get you if you’re ever in trouble – let them know how much they matter to you.
  7. Switch off! Make sure you have some down time without social media. As much as I’m so grateful for doing this as a job, like any job I need to take a break from it. You can’t be working 24-7. When you feel anxious about it, just switch off and get out of the house without your phone.

Thank you so much for reading guys! I would love to know how you guys stay happy in the world of social media!? What do you do to remain focused on your own happiness and your individual journey? I would love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outfit details 

Vero Moda Off the Shoulder Sweater

Current air Vinyl Pants

White Sneakers

Pom pom Beanie

 

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35 Comments

  1. Primrose on January 15, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    I LOVE this so much! It’s so easy to feel anxious about social media, especially when it’s your job, I do hate how out of control it seems at the moment but it’s SO important to look after yourself first! Yay for going to Uni late too, I’m hopefully starting this year a few years after everyone else! X

    http://www.stylepetal.co.uk

  2. Charmaign on January 15, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Definitely a good valuable read. I totally agree and you are giving really good advise to everyone out there! Amazing soul

  3. Britta on January 15, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Ash!! This is exactly the post I needed this Monday!
    Such a motivator and important topic!
    Also you look so cute in these pics! When can we move into that pink house though? Lol
    Xo
    Britta

  4. jenellewitty on January 15, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    All so so true. Last year I put so much pressure on myself and felt that anxiety at times. I was so sad about how something would perform and then I’d end up chatting to my fellow bloggers and find 9/10 felt the same, no matter how many followers they had or what their engagement was like. The same was true, these were all people with kick ass images, fun personalities and plenty to love.

    Then I realised, that, if an image did well, I was usually already onto the next thing and wouldn’t even notice. So funny! I’d look back and see the engagement and feel surprised! Why was I getting sad over low engagement and not really caring when something did well anyway?! That is just a lose lose situation. Taking time off I stepped back and realised it didn’t matter. Honestly, it isn’t where I seek validation nor should it be. I was proud of my content and the people I work with to get it there. I love the community of strong and inspiring people I have met through instagram (online or in real life) and that is the best part. Not worth losing sleep over at all!
    Loved reading this post Ash, and your honesty!
    xx Jenelle
    http://www.inspiringwit.com

  5. Andrea on January 15, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Just what I needed to read. Thanks Ash!!! Keep going!💖💖💖

  6. Angela on January 15, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Loved this post so much Ash!!! Seriously my fave of yours. Instagram has bought me amazing things but also so much anxiety. I’d love to know if you use any apps or anything for meditation? Xx

    • Miss Gunner on January 15, 2018 at 11:21 pm

      Hey lovely!! awww Thank you so much babe! Trust me we all go through it. But try meditation. It sounds really crazy but you only need 10 min a day. I use apps called headspace and attraction. But if you are just looking for a quicky, just go to youtube and search for 10 min meditation for positive energy. I started off with these. Works a treat!! lots of love! xxx

  7. Melanie May on January 15, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Loved this blog Ash! So relevant and timely. My pup keeps me happy and the occasionally Netflix binge hehe.
    Mel xx
    https://melaniemay.me

  8. talesofjude on January 15, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Really enjoyed this post Ash, just the kick in the behind I needed on a Monday!! I think it’s great to share our frustrations and insecurities and then find perspective to focus on what’s important (good friends, health, family…). I’ll def be following your suggestions for meditation and exercise! Also you look super cute in these shots!! Judith xx
    http://www.talesofjude.com

  9. Erica on January 15, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    You always spread happiness and wise words. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being you Ash. Love you babe!! For me switching off from to time has helped me stay happy. Like you said I try not to compare my journey to anyone else’s… it’s not easy but it’s important.😘🤗

  10. Esther on January 16, 2018 at 1:34 am

    You are such an inspiration. 🙂
    And as always you look so fabulous. Have a great week.

    Love, Esther
    https://lifestyle-tale.com/teddy-coat/

  11. Carla on January 16, 2018 at 1:50 am

    Do you know what’s harder for me? Not getting proper vacation time off! I always say: I’m not going to post this week. I’m just going to enjoy my vacay with my family. But when I look at this corner or that perfect beach I can’t help it!! And for what??? It’s overwhelming sometimes. The best is to get the chance to know incredible people. Like you Ashley! love Carla xxx

  12. didieryhc on January 16, 2018 at 2:11 am

    Oh gosh I hear you there. I often find myself comparing myself to others and feeling inadequate because I am not growing at the same pace as others or because I don’t receive as much engagement. Sometimes, it’s important to take a step back and say to yourself “stop this. You are more than enough, you love what you do and you are good at it”. Thanks for sharing these little tricks my dear! Have a wonderful week ahead!

    -Didier
    http://www.didieryhc.com

  13. Inês Dionísio on January 16, 2018 at 2:38 am

    I love the photos and the post!

    xoxo,
    Inês
    http://www.indiglitz.pt

  14. La Bijoux Bella| by mia on January 16, 2018 at 2:41 am

    Beautiful advice … and your looks are so bomb as always Gorgeous! ♥️👍🏼♥️

    🌸🍃LA BIJOUX BELLA 🌸🍃| By Mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

  15. Short Girl Long Jacket on January 16, 2018 at 4:52 am

    Awesome post! I get mixed feelings about social media because I’ve found it hard to grow a following but I still love to create. Your tips are so right though, and actually most of my friends aren’t even on social media so it’s the perfect way to escape when we hang out 🙂

  16. Miki (@mikialamode) on January 16, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Love this post. I got sick on NYE and haven’t been on IG since and honestly, it’s been so nice. The follow and likes thing can suck and I kind of wish I couldn’t see the numbers at all. I’ve met some amazing friends on IG. 🙂

    Xo,
    Miki
    http://mikialamode.com

  17. Elegant Duchess on January 16, 2018 at 8:51 am

    I couldn’t agree more girl! you are so right, it’s good at times put all the media aside and just enjoy life! xx

    http://www.elegantduchess.com/2018/01/12/red-black-midi-pencil-work-dress-elegant-duchess/

  18. NaturallyChicandFeminine on January 16, 2018 at 9:11 am

    This is a very encouraging post! I haven’t experienced this myself but it is definitely a needed topic for discussion in the world of social media.
    Noelle
    http://elle-no.com

  19. Mariya on January 16, 2018 at 9:49 am

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read recently!

    x Mariya
    http://www.brunetteondemand.com

  20. Raysa García on January 16, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this babe!
    You are doing an amazing job. Keep up the good work.
    Much love.
    Xx , Raysa

  21. Lisa Autumn on January 16, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Girl this is the most perfect and uplifting post ever! Well done!

    xx Lisa | lisaautumn.com

  22. Shasha Rshan on January 16, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    Love this dress, it is very easy to get caught up and never check back intot he real world. Andon comparing yourself to others. I have to force myself to get off the internet and be human.

    https://rshanphonsi.com/2017/12/03/5-nationalities-cannot-date-anymore/

  23. Neha Walia on January 16, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Loved reading this Ash. I usually try to meditate and not let myself get anxious. I’m blessed to have a supportive husband who is always so proud of my achievements. I always want to create better content and he helps me and supports me in it and yes I do look back and reflect and then always thank the universe and show my gratitude. I love that I even get whatever small or big opportunities come my way. I just feel like being thankful is so important.
    Love, Neha xo

  24. Anci on January 16, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    Great post darling! You just gaved me some more power for going forward and not giving up!

  25. Naomi Trevino on January 16, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    This is so good! I love the all of the points. It’s about having a balance for sure. You are a great writer by the way. Loved reading this!

  26. Camille on January 17, 2018 at 3:38 am

    I loved this post – thanks for sharing! The world of blogging and social media can be so overwhelming and I loved the seven tips for staying happy. I will definitely be using these tips – thank you!

    Camille xo

    http://www.cococami.blogspot.co.uk

  27. Shloka on January 17, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Oh babe this is so amazing. I find it so hard sometimes to be happy – I feel so anxious as well when I look at my feed, my numbers but you are so right, sometimes you just have to stop comparing switch off! Love this whole post babe!

    x
    Shloka
    http://www.thesilksneaker.com

  28. Jessi Malay on January 17, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Happy anniversary on your 3 years of blogging babe!! Crazy how fast time flies! Love your tips on staying happy in the social media world..sometimes as bloggers, we can get really sucked into social media and it’s hard to get out!! I think switching off is the most important thing..you just need to have set times where you take time for yourself!

    XO, Jessi
    https://jmalay.com/best-free-things-la/

  29. TheOneThatTravels on January 17, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Beautifully written.
    Love the look and photography.
    xx
    https://theonethattravels.wordpress.com/

  30. Saida - She talks Glam on January 17, 2018 at 8:52 am

    You look ridiculously cute in these shots, Ashley! Perfect pink backdrop as well 🙂 On the social media front and how to keep our sanity, I found that disconnecting a bit more often and stop obsessing about the numbers and just do my thing has worked quite well in eliminating most of the anxiety from my daily life. Your tips are very useful, I would like to start meditating as well. Sending you a big hug!

    Saida | She talks Glam

  31. Mile High Dreamers on January 17, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    This is SO REAL! And why do we do that to ourselves?! Ben likes to say that ‘comparison sucks all the color out of life’ and I couldn’t agree more. The moment you stop comparing yourself to everyone else and just focus on how GRATEFUL you are for your own life, your outlook completely changes. I wish I’d figured that out sooner, but better late than never! And working out will always be a saving grace! Nothing makes you feel more powerful and confident than smashing a killer workout.
    Thanks for spreading the word lady. It’s so needed!

    Susie | http://milehighdreamers.com

  32. StacyInStyle on January 18, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Amazing read! You are a true inspiration Ashley and maybe one day I can be more like you because you are a real blogger role model!

    Big hugs and thanks for being real with us xox
    Stacy

  33. Kiki on January 19, 2018 at 2:45 am

    It definitely is so important to take time off and switch off. As well as always reminding yourself to take everything with a pitch of salt. Great post! K x

  34. notjessfashion1 on January 21, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Preach! What a nice read, and I couldnt agree more, especially at 1. Too many times we compare ourselves to others and their success. And yes, remember why you start blogging in the firt place and “Enjoy the Journey”. Btw, those are really cool trousers! Love that you paired it with cute sweater. Such a cozy look.

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

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