Ch01.Blog07 Realign yourself
by Nick Cain
When considering health as a broad term, l very rarely associate it with mental health. But when l think about health as an artist – mental health is the first thing that comes to mind.
The life many of us have chosen means we need to place great emphasis on our mental health to ensure one of our most important ’tools’ is firing effectively. But let’s be honest, as hard as the lifestyle can be, we probably wouldn’t have it any other way.
l strongly believe that has a lot to do with being true to our overall purpose. Our work is then inherently motivating. A great thing! But with a purpose comes goals, and with goals comes the yearning to succeed.
What happens, however, when our motivation is deflated by the perception of people succeeding at their own goals whilst we struggle to deliver on ours? It’s highlighted no more clearly than on social media by an innocent acronym turned seriously researched phenomenon, FOMO.
The Fear Of Missing Out.
Flinders University senior lecturer Mubarak Rahamathulla referenced the ‘National Stress and Wellbeing in Australia Survey 2015' when he hypothesised, “there is a very strong positive correlation between the hours spent on digital technology and higher stress and depression”.
With that in mind, now picture the hours an artist would spend developing momentum behind their online presence and ensuring they stay ‘relevant’, whilst possibly watching everyone else seemingly try be more ‘relevant’ than them. The more you see other people posting their idyllic version of success, the more you question your own definition and the speed at which you’re achieving it.
All of a sudden, it’s quite clear to see why the link between longer hours on social media might actually correlate to higher stress and depression for artists via FOMO too.
And what is FOMO? It’s comparison. Comparison of what’s possible, versus the reality. And comparison is at the very heart of robbing yourself of happiness.
What is the lesson here? It’s not necessarily shutting down your website and never using social media again. I think we have to accept the fact social media is not going anywhere anytime soon. As artists, we need it. It’s an important part of our marketing.
A possible solution lies in the words of Dr. Jason Fox, a motivational design speaker, who frames this for us on his website, “The world loves to fixate upon success — a dangerous concept that is as fleeting as it is irrelevant. What’s more important is progress — the eternal pursuit of betterment.”
Maybe it’s worth adjusting our perspective on how we view our own journey, and what we consider ‘success’ to be.
There’s a wonderful book l read by Dr. Russ Harris called The Happiness Trap. It features practical techniques to adjust FOMO mindset and start realigning with your personal journey. It’s well worth a read to settle that anxiety around your friend’s Facebook post regarding their new lead role in a major motion picture.