“Discovering what is at the root of your rut can help you turn your focus away from what other people are choosing to share online and instead, help you reinvest your time and energy into the changes you want to make in your own life.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jessica Abo, the author of “Unfiltered: How to Be as Happy as You Look On Social Media.” A sought after keynote speaker, Jessica’s work focuses on leadership and development, relationships, community activism and parenthood. Jessica is also a multi-award-winning television journalist and passionate philanthropist who has raised more than a million dollars for several causes by organizing her own events and running marathons.
I grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and wanted to be a talk show host from
the time I was nine years old. When I was a kid, talk shows were a place where
guests shared their stories while the host, guest psychologist, and studio audience, offered support. I went to Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism for college and graduate school to pursue my dream of becoming a broadcast journalist. After working in television news as an anchor/reporter for 15 years, I decided I had covered too many bullying stories and started my YouTube channel back in 2013 to be a positive resource for people looking to turn their struggles into strengths. Over the past five years, I’ve interviewed athletes, celebrities, CEOs, founders and extraordinary thought-leaders. You can watch my segments on several platforms including Entrepreneur.com.
The most interesting thing to happen to me was recent, actually — having my
baby’s due date and my book deadline fall on the same day. Writing a book while pregnant, being in revisions with a newborn and planning my book launch while nursing, changing diapers, rocking, singing and swaddling has been a wild ride, but it’s something I’ll cherish forever.
I just released by first book titled Unfiltered: How to Be as Happy as You Look on Social Media, and to celebrate the release, I’m launching a fashion line at New
York Fashion Week this September. To bring the event to life I partnered with
IVY, a networking community for entrepreneurs, and STYLE360. IVY is a
community that’s dedicated to creating opportunities for intellectually curious entrepreneurs, creatives and innovative professionals to learn, grow and collaborate and STYLE360 has been a fashion platform since 2004 for some of today’s leading fashion designers like Rodarte, Rebecca Minkoff, Patricia Fields, and Zaldy — so it’s all incredibly exciting. Over the past 10 years, STYLE360 has evolved into a launching pad for trending, and celebrity, designers and is a venue known for showcasing elite supermodels and high-profile musical performances.
My UNFILTERED runway will kick off with a special performance by Jonah Platt, an incredible Los Angeles-based actor, writer, musician, composer, arranger, director, and producer, who is most well-known for his star turn as “Fiyero” in the Broadway blockbuster Wicked. The models walking in the show are people I feature in my Unfiltered book. They are entrepreneurs, celebrities, changemakers, parents and kids. The clothing highlights themes the reader will come across throughout the chapters and line will be available on www.jessicaabo.com starting September 12th.
Studies show technology can have a negative impact on our psychology, leading to stress, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. Many admit the reason they log on, and continue to check their phone morning, noon and night is due to feeding their “fear of missing out” (FOMO). Experts say half of the time that we check our phone because we’ve received a notification — a text, someone just posted, or so on — but the other half of the time, it’s because we’re subconsciously worried that we’re missing out on some new update. So, we log in due to this fear, scroll through our social media, and end up there for hours, becoming wildly unproductive and using this as a distraction to put off those “to- dos” and to avoid the steps we need to take to better our lives offline.
Also, oftentimes when we’re scrolling, we start to see posts and comments that make us unhappy — we fall into a “compare and despair trap” where we’re comparing ourselves to the perfect, filtered lives of the celebrities, influencers, friends, and family that show up on our feed, and this creates a negative affect — we’re now left with self doubt, wondering why we don’t measure up, and so on. It’s a vicious cycle, but it really can be turned into a positive one if we start to take a step back, look at the root of why we feel is this way and commit to make the changes we need to make to take back our happiness.
Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize — my theory is that if it’s important, they’ll leave a message, and you aren’t subjected to the distraction of answering a random (and annoying!) call. Also, most phones now have a “Do Not Disturb” feature which is something I highly encourage others to make use of — you can set it so that you don’t get notifications from phone calls or text messages within a certain time frame. So, say you’re sitting down to dinner with your family for an hour or two — turn on Do Not Disturb and you’re free from distractions from the outside world, so you can spend quality time with those around you.
I think all generations can create a healthy relationship with social media by
understanding what role they want social media to play in their life. If you’re standing in the checkout line and want your social network to cure your boredom, I get that. If your apps help you stay connected to family, friends, community groups and today’s current events, that makes sense to me, too. However, if you’re feeling lonely and craving meaningful connections, I think it’s ideal when people use social media to engage with their loved ones around the world, while also seeking opportunities to interact with more people face-to-face. While it’s nice to have people “like” and comment on your posts, nothing beats someone giving you a hug when you really need one. So my advice to younger generations is: don’t believe everything you see online and don’t get so consumed with your digital network that you neglect the special relationships that surround you in real life.
I think it’s become second nature for people to check their phones when they
wake up. For some people, it’s a quick fix to find out what happened overnight. For others it can provoke anxiety because they’re reminded that they’re not engaged yet, starting a family, purchasing a home, etc. Now that I live in LA, I check my phone before my daughter wakes up, so I can see what needs my attention back in New York since New Yorkers are already at their desks. Once I’ve done my morning briefing, I assess what I need to respond to while I brush my teeth. Then I nurse my daughter and get to work. I think the best way to start the day, whether it’s the first thing you do, or something you incorporate into your routine, is to start with gratitude. Whether that’s with a mantra, meditation, positive quote or prayer. When I’m with my daughter, the first thing I do is say a prayer thanking G-d for the new day.
“Don’t compare yourself to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time.”
I’m actually already working on that with my #LiveUnfiltered social media
movement and campaign, where I’m encouraging my friends and followers to
bring a bit of realness to social media. I’m asking people to share their real, raw, and unedited moments. The goal is to show that, sometimes, life isn’t as perfect as it looks on social media, and by sharing our own Unfiltered moments and stories, we’re able to help others going through similar experiences, resulting in more meaningful relationships with our followers and friends.
Originally published at medium.com