Lately, I’ve started to notice that there’s a lot of people in the world who are angry.
It’s not a regular anger, either. It’s the kind of anger that is characterized by boiling, seething rage right underneath the person’s skin. It’s a rage that I’ve noticed is increasingly tied to warped views on life, paranoia when dealing with people who aren’t like them. It’s isolating. It’s terrifying. Worse, it’s addicting.
This anger is a serious danger to everyone who’s exposed to it, including the people who have it. It’s a type of anger that, when left to simmer, can easily become deadly. I’ve seen this rage come from men who can’t get laid, Trump supporters who froth at the mouth when they hear the word “collusion,” as well as people who just no longer feel safe in the world because of various factors.
Lately, I’ve been noticing that the internet is getting more toxic by the day. Here’s how you can avoid the danger of the net’s negativity and get rid of the rage the net can bring.
- Limit your negative news reading. Believe it or not, a lot of news sources go out of their way to inspire fear, anxiety, and anger in their readers. This is because shocking and frightening materials tend to get more clicks than news that’s upbeat and happy. Studies have shown that limiting exposure to negative news tends to improve mood and even make you more trusting of others.
- Fact check what you read. It doesn’t take much research to determine that there’s a lot of propaganda, rumors, and outright fake news being passed off as fact. Much of the “news” you might be reading isn’t real, nor is it healthy for you. Before you get angry or assume things to be correct, fact check them through credible sources. You might find that what you were told was fact is actually a work of fiction.
- Stick to a maximum of half an hour of social media per day. Studies show that extensive use of social media is heavily linked to increased anxiety and depression. This is because it tends to make people feel like they aren’t doing well compared to others, and may also mislead people into thinking that they are more alone than they really are. By limiting exposure, you will force yourself to look at your life as it is–not as it’s edited to be.
- Remember that most of social media is marketing. Everyone on social media polishes up their lives and looks to be as perfect as possible. You’re not looking at their “uncut” look; you’re looking at their prime scenes in life. Don’t mistake the highlights of others’ lives for their reality. It’s all a game at the end of the day.
- Cut out people, groups, and pages that make you angry, upset, and scared. The most toxic sites out there, in most cases, are the ones that make you angry at others. If you aren’t sure if a group is toxic, ask yourself these questions. If the answer is yes, you’re probably around toxic internet sites.
- Does it promote hatred of another group of people?
- After interacting with said net group or website, do you feel angry, bitter, or depressed?
- Does your group have a reputation for being a “hate group?”
- Did your life take a turn for the worse since you joined it?
- Does the group often encourage you to hurt yourself?
- Does the advice you receive from the group encourage paranoid behavior, or tell you to avoid people who are meant to care about you?
- Go outside and develop hobbies that boost face-to-face interaction. Study after study reveals that one of the worst byproducts of increased screentime is difficulty developing social skills. Your ability to socialize is a “use it or lose it” kind of skill. The more time you spend away from people in “meatspace,” the worse your social skills become. That’s why it’s so important to have hobbies that get you out of the house and in different social scenes.
It doesn’t even matter what the hobby is in most cases. As long as you get to talk to other people and make connections, it’s a good hobby to have.
- Remember that actions on the net can have real-life consequences. How you present yourself online, and what you do to others online. People have gotten fired from jobs, lost friends, and even have gotten arrested because of things they typed online. At the end of the day, internet anonymity isn’t guaranteed. Treat your posts like you would your daily interactions with others.
- Try not to get angry when people disagree with you. The net has this weird way of creating echo chambers where people tend to agree with each other, regardless of the topic. This created a weird unspoken rule that people who disagree with you are insulting you.
Life is all about differences. Some people just won’t agree with you on topics, and that’s fine! Disagreeing with you doesn’t mean that someone hates you or that they’re insulting you. Not hearing other opinions causes an echo chamber, which has been proven to lead to extremism and social isolation.
- Learn healthy coping mechanisms. Between all the FOMO that social media creates and all the craziness of life, it’s easy to feel like the internet exacerbates issues you have. If you’re like me, it also can suck you in pretty badly. Ranting online (or in person) will not do you any good. If anything, studies suggest that this will make you even angrier in the long run.
A better idea? Try to learn healthy coping mechanisms, such as gymming, meditation, or even just drawing your ideas for the world to see.
- Stop believing that life is like what you see in media. With media, you really are what you consume. If you consume a lot of movies that insist that people are guaranteed a relationship despite obvious incompatibility, you will start thinking that’s how life works. If you ingest material that says that the opposite sex isn’t capable of love, you will have a similarly self-fulfilling prophecy. The best way to learn how people work is to observe them in real life–or maybe ask for help doing so.
- Remember that we are all human. Dehumanization is a symptom of internet rage, and it’s extremely dangerous. Being hidden behind a screen or reading toxic texts tend to make us forget that people are human. We are all human. We all feel love. We all feel pain. We all have things we care about. We might not be identical, but if we reach out and try to accept others, great things can happen.
Type happy, look happy. The more happiness you discuss in your life, the more you tend to focus on it. The more you focus on it, the less angry you get.