Written by : Transcript – Create a Healthy Relationship with Social Media With Giselle Ugarte 

Transcript – Create a Healthy Relationship with Social Media With Giselle Ugarte

Follow along with the transcript below for episode: Create a Healthy Relationship with Social Media With Giselle Ugarte

 

[INTRODUCTION]

 

[0:00:02] PF: Thank you for joining us for episode 470 of Live Happy Now. As we wrap up Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s a great time to talk about something that many experts believe is contributing to the problem. I’m your host, Paula Felps, and this week I’m joined by coach, speaker, and influencer, Giselle Ugarte, who helps people learn how to build their confidence, reframe their relationship with social media, and show up more authentically at work and in their personal lives.

 

Giselle has seen firsthand how learning to use social media more mindfully can help deepen relationships and improve self-confidence, and she’s here to tell us how we can make the most of those social media moments. Let’s have a listen.

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

[0:00:46] PF: Giselle, welcome to Live Happy Now.

 

[0:00:49] GU: Hello. I’m so happy to be here.

 

[0:00:51] PF: Oh, my gosh. I’m so excited to talk to you. We want to talk about mental health and social media, and that is a huge topic. We could talk all month about it.

 

[0:00:59] GU: No kidding. That’s my department.

 

[0:01:00] PF: Oh, my gosh.

 

[0:01:01] GU: I’m glad to be here to talk about it.

 

[0:01:03] PF: Yeah. So, to start the conversation, I really wanted to talk about how oftentimes, when we have this discussion about social media and mental health, we’re talking about younger users. It’s not just kids that it’s affecting, it’s affecting older adults as well, right?

 

[0:01:18] GU: It’s affecting all of us, honestly, because even if it isn’t social media, you know, social media is a reflection of the way that we use technology, and even the way that we have notifications running so much of our lives. Where we worry so much about today’s kids, the reality is, is that the kids are also reflecting the habits and also, the insecurities of adults. We’re hearing a lot of commentary right now about how this is the most anxious generation, I would also then challenge to take a look at some of our older generations as well in the ways in which we might be addicted to work, or perhaps, validation, or people pleasing. I really just think that social media is a mirror, or perhaps, amplification of some of what actually and already has been happening for decades long before social media existed. The difference is that now we can carry it in our pockets and take it home with us even when we are all alone.

 

There are some benefits of that too, because there’s also the side of, well, but wait a minute, with social media, we never actually have to be alone. It’s actually removing a lot of stigmas and we talk about Mental Health Awareness Month. I know that for me personally, someone who has dealt with anxiety and spells of deep depression and even PTSD, I’ve changed my relationship with alcohol over time. For me, social media has actually been where I’ve gone to for conversation, for confidence as I learned to embrace my body and what healthy looks like to me. Social media has been where I’ve been able to create conversations with people who I perhaps never would have met in real life. Or maybe it was chit chat at a party, but we started following each other and realized that we were both on this same path of wanting to better ourselves. Social media was where we were able to find that community.

 

I’m really excited to go into this conversation and explore different angles. Most importantly, to discover where we are in control and how we can better have a better relationship with social media every day, no matter how old you are.

 

[0:03:18] PF: Right. I think some of the people that have the healthiest relationship with it are the elderly. I have an aunt who’s 87, and she uses Facebook. Now, granted, she’s not what I would call tech savvy. But if it weren’t for Facebook, then we would not be in touch. She’s not someone that’s going to pick up a phone. We’re not going to be in touch. And we have a very large extended family. Because of that, she doesn’t have children of her own, but she is in touch with all her nieces and nephews and reach out. She’s going through a lot of health challenges right now. She is getting the support that she simply could not have if it weren’t for social media.

 

[0:03:55] GU: I like to say that if you’re not taking your online relationships offline, then you’re seriously missing out. Absolutely, it is one of those things where we’re able to keep in touch with people who, maybe we wouldn’t otherwise. I would also say, and that brings up a really awesome point too, is that sometimes I have friends who will say, “Well, if I didn’t have social media, then my family would never see my kids, or they’d never keep in touch with us.” To which I go, “Wait, hold on a second. Have we now gotten to a point to where social media is the only way that you’re keeping in touch with your family, versus now we have things like group text and FaceTime where we actually need to take that relationship to another level?”

 

[0:04:39] PF: So, are you indicating this might be a problem?

 

[0:04:42] GU: Well, no. I’m not. But we all have to really take a look at our online habits and why do we do the things that we do. You mentioned you have this friend who had health challenges. How awesome how, for example, you have people who might be having health challenges, or God forbid, they go through something really tragic, they can use social media as a way to update a lot of people that otherwise, energetically, they might not be able to, or physically able to do so. Or you’re able to maybe donate to someone who is seriously in need and going through something really, really difficult and you’re able to have that support, maybe even from people who you haven’t talked to in a really long time.

 

With every ounce of negative, there’s positive with positive, there are more ways to do good and in person, but I simply want people to be more intentional about all of their habits online and especially off.

 

[0:05:33] PF: I love the positive things that can come out of it. I love seeing the fundraisers that take place and just the sense of community that you can create when you are intentional about it. We know that it’s also doing a lot of things to knock people’s self-confidence. That’s something that you’ve addressed very well. I wondered if you could talk a little bit about what kind of impact it can have on your self-confidence.

 

[0:05:57] GU: Absolutely. Well, I want to go back even 10 or 20 years ago. We can go back even further than that. I know that right now, we’re getting a lot of that conversation around the millennials and then Gen Xers who are saying that social media is horrible for confidence. To that, I say, hold on a second. Let’s go back to a time when our only media was TV and magazines. There was one standard of beauty. She was one color and one size. She was usually a size zero, or double zero and her legs were a million miles long. Maybe you would see her in that magazine and perhaps, that’s what she looked like naturally, or maybe they did start to doctor some of those images. You wouldn’t even necessarily know, because the FTC was not what it is today.

 

Now you log into social media, you can see beauty in every single shape and color and size and age and level of success in a way that we never have been before. That’s where I want to challenge anyone who says, “Hold on. Social media is killing my confidence,” to go, what are you looking at? Because now, you have choices. Before, we didn’t have choices. We only had a certain amount of channels and whatever magazines that you were subscribed to. You get to decide who you follow. Now our feeds are a direct reflection of us. If what you’re seeing is making you feel bad about yourself for any way, then you really need to either get your head right, or get your feed right.

 

Typically, I then hear the argument, “Oh, but comparison is the thief of joy.” Comparison is only the thief of joy when you’re coming at it from a place of lack, when you yourself are unhappy. That’s where I really want to challenge you. Again, get your head right, get your feed right. Start your day rooted and gratitude with what you are thankful for, with what you are proud of, with ways that you do see yourself as beautiful. Because otherwise, yeah, everything you see, you’re going to project your insecurities on that. I want you to follow people who look exactly like you. I want you to follow people who look nothing like you. I want you to follow people who give you aspirational and inspirational goals and motivate you without making you feel less than.

 

If everything is making you feel less than, then maybe it is time to perhaps pause, or close the apps, or unfollow, or mute, or maybe even block for a moment because that does happen. But the conversation is so much bigger than just a social media feed. It’s also, when you’re dropping the kids off at school and you’re seeing all of the other parents around you. It’s also, when you’re opening up your phone and you don’t like what you see, or you’re looking in the mirror and you don’t like what you see. To which I say, it’s time to own it or change it. Own it. Or if you don’t like what you see, then change it.

 

Even if you decide to change it, you still have to own it in some way, shape, or form. What I instead see people have happened is they end up turning on filters, for example, or multiple filters, for example, and they say, “Oh. Well, I’m just putting makeup on with this filter. Oh, I’m just giving myself some a tan.” Well, hold on a second. Why does that filter make your face look like a totally different shape? Why is it putting somebody else’s eyes on top of your eyes? Why have you just aged 20 years less? Why do your pores not exist? All of a sudden, what you’re doing is on your phone, you’re creating this image that isn’t actually real. It’s no wonder that when you look in the mirror, you hate what you see.

 

[0:09:30] PF: Yeah. Can we talk about this a little bit more? Because I recently went through this. I saw a friend. I was just like, “Oh, my God. She looks amazing.” I was talking – we used to live in Dallas, this woman lives in Dallas. I was talking to some other friends in Dallas, I’m like, “She looks so great. What is she doing?” They’re like, “Filters, Paula. It’s a filter.” I was like, “Oh, man.” What does that do to our psychology and our psyche when we are presenting ourselves one way, but that’s not who we really are? How does that affect us?

 

[0:10:03] GU: Absolutely. What it’s doing is it’s telling your brain that you don’t think that you’re good enough. For me personally, I believe things like makeup and fashion are actually a form of self-expression. Sometimes they can be disguises and armor, and that’s fine, but the difference between a filter and say, filler, the injectable, is the filler goes with you, the filter does not.

 

[0:10:27] PF: Right.

 

[0:10:28] GU: My conversation and my expertise is purely around the use of technology and social media. The conversation around plastic surgery and makeup, that’s something different entirely. Again, the difference is the filler will go with you. The filter does not. When you then look in the mirror at night, or when you look in somebody else’s camera, or when your child takes a photo of you and you don’t like what you see, a lot of that is because what you are lying to yourself doing.

 

What I find to be so interesting is that a lot of my clients, I have a rule, no filters. No filters on Zoom. No filters on social media. To remove that filter. What’s so interesting is how every single person, every single time, well, first of all, there’s the resistance, which if it’s not that deep, Giselle, if it’s not that serious, Giselle, then why is it so hard for you to do? Why is it so hard? Once they actually remove it, what’s so wild is the way that they begin to realize other ways that they’ve been creating filters in their life.

 

Because you might even be thinking, “Well, Giselle, I don’t even use filter,” which congratulations, you are miles and light years ahead in the confidence game. Where might you be hiding, or where might you perhaps be creating that highlight reel? Because I believe that there is this highlight reel of perfection that we are seeing, but oftentimes, the ones who are only seeing the highlight reel, you’re also the one who’s creating it, too. I believe that your highlight reel is actually comprised of the highs and the lows of the in-between moments. You can have your best day and your worst day on the same day. It’s so important that we recognize that what we’re seeing is just a fraction of someone’s life. I hate when people say, social media is fake.

 

Are there people online who are fake? Yes. Are there people who are in real life fake? Also, yes. The question is, is it actually fake, or is it just that you are creating a judgment on a single second of time? In that single second of time, it’s possible that that family was happy and smiling and in the next second, it’s possible that they were fighting. We’ve all had those days and those vacations where you were at screaming each other the whole time. Does that mean that you don’t love each other? No.

 

If somebody posts a picture of their happy family and then announces the next week that they’re getting a divorce, does that mean that they were being fake? Or was she just doing her best on that particular day? You can have your best day and your worst day on the same day. That’s part of the mental health acceptance that I want people to understand is that no, social media isn’t fake. I actually think we were talking about, what does your mind tell yourself? When we say things like that, we’re actually canceling ourselves out for achieving that thing ourselves. We’re believing that, “Oh, that type of happiness can’t be achieved. Oh, that type of family can’t be achieved. Oh, that type of success can’t be achieved,” because of the ways that we’re knocking it from someone else, or we’re trying to chip it away somehow.

 

I wouldn’t even realize the ways in which that too is also her bringing out confidence by saying, “Oh, you don’t deserve that. Oh, you’ll never have that.” Versus, “You know what? Good for her. You know what? Good for him.”

 

[MESSAGE]

 

[0:13:43] PF: We’ll be right back with Giselle Ugarte. But right now, let’s take a quick break to talk about clothing from Franne Golde.

 

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Now, let’s get back to my talk with Giselle to learn more about how we can use social media more intentionally to improve our mental health.

 

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

 

[0:14:39] PF: If you start creating a practice where you do that, or you intentionally tell yourself, “I’m going to congratulate in my head, each person who celebrates something on Facebook.” Will that make a difference? Or you’re saying like, you’re cheering them on, whereas before, you might have been sitting there judging a little bit.

 

[0:14:58] GU: I honestly believe it does, and I love how you said practice. Or maybe you didn’t say it, but I heard it. But we do have to practice being happy for other people. I do believe that when we do that, it will come back in a form of gratitude for ourselves. It might feel sweet irony, a little fake and uncomfortable when you’re forcing yourself to do that, but you’re doing it for the goodness of your mind and perhaps, to melt away at your cold heart. It’s gotten bitter over the years. Because let’s just think about that for a moment. If you can’t be happy for someone on their happiest day, whether it’s their wedding, or their kid’s graduation, or they just got a new job, or they just bought a new house, or they moved, and your first instinct is, “Oh, must be nice. Oh, well, that’s great that her husband got that or, oh, well, yeah, it must be easy for her to lose the weight.” Let’s think about, hold on, where is that coming from? Where is the projected self-loathing frankly coming from? Where you decided to rule yourself out from that, or you became so bitter and nasty?

 

We wouldn’t want someone to be like that towards us on our day. Why are we doing that to them? Yes. Rather than just liking or continuing to scroll, something that I have also noticed with my clients is I always give them an assignment to turn passive scrolling into an actively engaged activity. Again, whenever we’re scrolling, sometimes we’re scrolling to numb, or we’re scrolling because we want to be numb. We’re just scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, not even paying attention, no concept of time. Maybe every now and then, we’ll hit a like, or we’ll double tap. I will give my clients the assignment of every time you open up the refrigerator, that is your social media, I want you to engage.

 

If you see something, maybe it’s someone you know, maybe they just accomplished something, or maybe they did something really difficult, or they shared something very vulnerable, rather than just to double tap something, write something, comment to them. Not just a little emoji, or a heart, but acknowledge it in a meaningful way. “Oh, my gosh, that’s so exciting. I know how hard you have been working on that marathon. Oh, my gosh, you finally did it. I remember you talking about this years ago. Now you’re finally learning how to ballroom dance. That’s so awesome.”

 

One more way that I’ve noticed my clients who were anxiously sometimes opening up that empty refrigerator that can be social media sometimes, all of a sudden going, “I think I got my fix.” They’re not opening it up as often, because they were able to feel as if they did something productive. Whereas before, sometimes we open it up mindlessly hoping for that dopamine hit. Instead, they created their own dopamine hit by finding gratitude and happiness and celebration for someone, or something else. Then they end up putting their phone away. It makes sense if you think about it, don’t you think?

 

[0:18:13] PF: I love that. I love it, because we’ve all had that practice where we’re like, just scrolling through there. It’s like, there’s nothing here. We hit refresh. Hoping better things will show up in our feed. If you think about it, these are people sharing their stories, however genuine or heartfelt they might be at that time. All we’re doing is like, “Eh, that’s not quite enough to keep me engaged.” Which is pretty crappy, because if they called you and said, “Hey, this happened,” you wouldn’t be just like, “Mm. Call me back when you have something better.”

 

[0:18:42] GU: Right. Or you would just ignore them completely from answering the phone.

 

[0:18:47] PF: Right. I love that. What other tips do you have for being more mindful as you use social media, instead of being used by it?

 

[0:18:54] GU: I love that you said that, because it’s a phrase that I use very often, which is, is social media running you, or are you running your social media? The number one thing that I tell all of my clients is turn off your notifications, all of them, the likes, the comments, the DMs. The only time that I ever have notifications on for social media is if I’m specifically waiting for a message from someone who maybe doesn’t have my phone number. It might be Facebook Marketplace, for example, or it might be my primary inbox on Instagram. It will be temporary. Only when that person really needs to get a hold of me, and they don’t have my phone number. Otherwise, everything is turned completely off.

 

When I’m checking my notifications, it’s because I’m in control of it. I sometimes even take it a step further from my clients and I say, no email on your phone. No email on your phone, which sounds terrifying for so many people. What that ends up doing is oftentimes, whenever we get that email notification, even if it’s from work, all of a sudden, that becomes the most important thing.

 

[0:20:00] PF: Right.

 

[0:20:01] GU: You will interrupt, disrupt whatever conversation, dinner, errand, or other important tasks that you were doing. It ends up actually taking up a lot of time for where you thought it only took five or 15 seconds, it maybe took 15 minutes. Or you ended up having to start that task that you were working on over again, or start that conversation over again. What ends up happening is if you take your email off of your phone, when you do your email at your desk, at your computer, you become more intentional and focused. Then you put your phone on do not disturb with the notifications turned off, and you have that time specifically to respond to whatever requests and clients that you need to get to as many times a day as you need. Hopefully, it’s no more than maybe two to four times a day, versus every single 15 minutes of every single hour of every single day.

 

[0:20:47] PF: Yeah. You start feeling yanked around. It’s just like, I’m doing this, but then I just get pulled over here. One thing I’ve started doing is I don’t even turn my phone on until after I eat breakfast, which a lot happens from the time I get up until after I eat breakfast. it was very difficult at first, because it’s always like, “Okay, what work? What do my clients have? What do I need to do?” To be able to just breathe and say, nothing that that has to be done in the next two hours. It doesn’t have to be done before 8.30 AM. Just enjoy life a little bit.

 

[0:21:20] GU: That’s absolutely one way to do it and determining what actually needs notifications, what actually needs sounds, what actually needs the flags and then visuals. I mean, some of you just have that default, everything has notification. When was the last time you really took the time to go, “What notifications are turned on? Which ones can I turn off?” Because I am someone who I do check my phone first thing in the morning. For me, it’s a healthy experience. I have a healthy relationship with my phone. I want to make sure everyone is good.

 

That doesn’t mean that I’m then replying back to everybody. It does give me a sanity to be able to just unlock my phone, is everything good? No one’s on fire. No one’s in the hospital. Great. Now I can begin. Or I might use that as my inspiration and motivation, because when I do open up my feed, I see people who inspire me. I see things that motivate me, or I have my affirmation or my Bible versus that get me going on that particular day. I am in control of it. It’s not in control of me. notifications, that is the biggest one. I even find sometimes that people feel they’re going through withdrawals. Where because their phone isn’t buzzing constantly, they then are flipping their phone over constantly.

 

[0:22:32] PF: Really?

 

[0:22:33] GU: Yes. That’s where we sometimes have to take it a step further and go, okay, well, do we then have to have the phone in a different room? Because if you can’t go to the bathroom, or sit in an elevator, or wait in a line without looking at your phone, we might need to check ourselves with where is that coming from? Where it’s coming from is typically, validation, need for validation, or it might be an unhealthy relationship that you have with your job, or your boss, or your superiors, or your clients where you have no boundaries, whatsoever. That’s also where we run into lack of confidence, because you are then running in this people pleasing loop, where you’re constantly seeking the attention of other people, and/or how often have we gotten to the end of the day and it feels like we haven’t done anything, because the whole day has been reactive.

 

You’re answering the email, answering the phone, answering the client, and never did you prioritize what you needed to do for yourself. That’s also where I established a practice of making sure that somewhere in your day, you do have calendared in a phone-free section of time. Also, in your day, you do have calendared in the three most important things that you need to do today. You’re three non-negotiables that you need to do today. Because where a lack of confidence also comes from is a lack of productivity, or feeling lazy, or feeling like you amount to nothing, or can’t do very much.

 

Even if you are going through a season of burnout, for you, the three most productive things that you might do might be going for a walk, might be taking a nap, might be writing in your journal. That might also be your unplugged moment of meditation. Having time that’s carved out specifically and only for you, and not tied to your electronics. Those are little ways that if we keep those commitments to ourselves, we can also build off of confidence and also get rid of some of those addictions that we didn’t even realize, “Oh, my gosh. Not only is my social media running me, but I am a slave to it. I didn’t even realize.”

 

[0:24:45] PF: Right.

 

[0:24:46] GU: My gosh. If that’s you, you can also set screen limits on your phone. That’s where you can put time limits for your screen time, or time limits for specific apps. I have a social media screen time limit, so I actually just clump all of my social media apps together in that. Then I’ll have the phone say, “Hey, you’ve hit your limit, or you have 15 minutes left.” Will I extend it? Yeah, I will sometimes. I totally will. At least I’m then becoming more aware versus not having anything at all. Or sometimes I might have it password protected if I need to, or if I’m feeling easily distracted. That’s one more way that I’m able to stay focused and still make sure that I have control over my apps. Those are a few ways to get started, but I’m sure we could go on and on and on, but those are at least a couple places to keep going.

 

[0:25:35] PF: That is such great advice. I wondered, you’ve worked with so many people. What changes have you seen in their wellbeing, in their – I know you’re not a mental health professional, but you do see people and deal with their mental health struggles. What changes do you see in their wellbeing and mental health when they start implementing these practices?

 

[0:25:56] GU: Yeah, and that’s the thing too, is that I’m a certified high-performance coach. I work on confidence and clarity and time management and energy. At the root of it, it’s a lot of those things. I see that people are better at managing their time, because of some of the simple ways in which they end up not having that same relationship with technology. I see confidence soar. Even taking it to the next level, one little productive thing that you can do is change your profile picture to your face and make sure that that face actually looks like you. When you have a face attached to your name, it makes your social media that much more personal. Also, when you can finally embrace what you look like now, versus maybe a headshot that you took before the pandemic, where we’ve all aged 20 years since. Things like that, it brings that relationship back.

 

When we’re engaging more, or even sharing more of ourselves, we see confidence go up, because you feel confident in your voice and that what you have to say matters. I actually see a lot of my clients feeling more comfortable, public speaking, or engaging in conversations, because of how they’re active on social media. Setting boundaries. When we set screen time limits, or when we delete emails from our phone, or set our phone to do not disturb, or maybe we let our clients know that, “Hey, I don’t take work calls after three,” those are things that we’re doing as technological habits. I also see that crossover into other habits and boundaries and relationships as well. It’s tiny little micro ways that we don’t even realize we’re taking our power back, that it starts showing up in every single area of your life.

 

That’s why I get really passionate about it, because where we can be so quick to blame social media and us as the victim, the reality is, is that you have a lot more power than you think. As soon as you start to slowly take that power back, it really does snowball into something so bigger, and you start to see the ways in which it’s showing up in other areas, too.

 

[0:27:53] PF: I love it. Giselle, that is a great way to wrap this up. You have so much to teach us. We are going to tell our listeners how they can find you. See, continue teaching us and we can keep learning from you. Thank you. Thank you so much for sitting down and talking to me about this today.

 

[0:28:08] GU: Thank you. I love talking about it. My messaging, my inboxes are always open. If you found this conversation helpful, please, I would love to hear from you. Don’t be passive. Send me a message, letting me know what you love most about this conversation.

 

[0:28:22] PF: Thank you so much.

 

[0:28:23] GU: Thank you.

 

[END OF INTERVIEW]

 

[0:28:28] PF: That was Giselle Ugarte, talking about how to use social media to support our mental health. If you’d like to learn more about Giselle and the work she’s doing, or follow her on social media, just visit us at livehappy.com and click on the podcast tab.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Live Happy Now, and if you aren’t already receiving us every week, we invite you to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. While you’re there, feel free to drop us a review and let us know what you think of the show.

 

That is all we have time for today. We’ll meet you back here again next week for an all-new episode. Until then, this is Paula Felps reminding you to make every day a happy one.

 

[END]

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