Social Media

3.96 billion people actively use social media in the world.

Back in 2015, there were only 2.07 billion users. That’s a 92.76% overall increase in users in just five years.

Now consider that social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. When you think about it this way, it makes sense that 80% of U.S. teens report being on social media almost constantly or several times a day.

Limiting social media use is key to safeguarding health and wellness from social media’s wide variety of negative mental health outcomes.

So, Halcyon launched a campaign that focused on facts of social media’s relationship to mental health, answering how social media can damage mental health and how to prevent that from happening.

The results

Relative to other Halcyon campaigns, a lower percentage of respondents to the quiz reported caring more about the social media problem after completing all ten questions. The same goes for the percentage of respondents who reported being more inclined to change the way they live to address social media.

That being said, we were encouraged by the fact that, even though these first two percentage categories were lower than expected, 100% of respondents still went on to read our resource blog, “5 easy ways to keep your social media use in check”.

Here’s a look at the numbers:

  • 65.6% of people who took the quiz reported caring more about the social media problem after what they learned.
  • 59% of people who took the quiz reported being more inclined to change the way they live to help address the problem of social media.
  • 100% of people who completed the quiz accessed our resource blog.

What you can do

If you want to learn more about social media’s impact on health and wellness, and gain the tools to keep your social media use in check, follow these easy steps:

  1. Start by testing your knowledge and take our quiz!
  2. At the end of the quiz, check out our resource blog.
  3. Share both these things with your friends and help us spread the word on the social media problem.
  4. If you would like to see this campaign reach more people and touch more lives, consider donating and be sure to reference the campaign.

Practice gratitude. It’s your cost-free key to a healthier, happier life!

There’s tons of positive psychology research to show that gratitude can positively influence our emotions, life satisfaction, relationships, job success, and our mental and physical health. 

So, whether you have trouble sleeping, chronic pain, or a hard time feeling optimistic, gratitude could be the solution you’ve been searching for!

The best part? Gratitude is easy! All it takes is conscious appreciation of the positives in your life, in place of focusing on the negatives.

In the words of Epictetus, the celebrated Greek Stoic philosopher, “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”

Want more on gratitude? Then you’re in luck! 

Halcyon’s next campaign will dive into the scientific evidence for gratitude’s positive connection to happiness and health, as well as the most effective ways to get started on your own gratitude journey.

So, be sure to keep an eye on our social media for the launch of this campaign and subscribe to our email list if you haven’t already! 

We look forward to sharing with you all the ways gratitude can change your life for the better.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the stresses of everyday life—and forget how good we have it sometimes. 

If you’d like to start making more time for gratitude, follow these simple steps.

1. Find gratitude in hard times

Reflecting on negative or difficult situations in your life can actually help you nail down what you’re really grateful for. 

Dig a little deeper into some of these experiences and consider what virtues or strengths they’ve helped you develop or the relationships that have carried you through them. 

Perhaps your job is demanding a lot of you lately. What is there to be grateful for in this situation? Do you have good time management skills? If so, that’s something to be grateful for! Imagine how much more stressful things would be if you didn’t! 

This is just one example of how there’s always something or someone to be grateful for, even in hard times.

2. Start a gratitude journal

Gratitude journals are a tried and true method for practicing gratitude. 

A journal of the things you’re grateful for allows you to keep track of the positives in your life and serves as something you can always refer back to on days when it’s a little tougher than others to feel grateful.


And a gratitude journal can be as time-intensive or laid-back as you want! You can journal everyday or you can set aside a time once a week. 

Still too much of a commitment? Even journaling once a month can be an impactful step on your gratitude journey.

3. Volunteer

For many people, giving back to others in their local community is the key to gratitude, as volunteering can highlight and make you more grateful for the things that you may take for granted.

Plus, people who volunteered in the past year are reportedly more satisfied with their lives compared to people who didn’t volunteer. Additionally, researchers have found that people who volunteer at least once a month report better mental health than those who volunteer infrequently or not at all.

4. Say thank you

Expressing your gratitude for the people you care about can boost their happiness and yours!

SoulPancake ran an experiment encouraging people to write a letter to someone they’re grateful for. People who did so experienced increased levels of happiness up to 4%. 

When the same people then made a phone call expressing their gratitude directly, their happiness levels jumped even further: from 4% to 19%.

5. Prayer or meditation

People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude. The Pray.com app is an awesome resource for people looking to make daily prayer a priority. 

Not your cup of tea? Try mindfulness meditation. For this sort of meditation, people will usually focus on a grounding word or phrase (such as “gratitude”), but it is also possible to focus on a particular aspect of your life that you’re grateful for (such as “family”). 

The Calm app and the Headspace app are full of guided meditations for those needing a little help with the practice.

Let’s get started.

Be patient with yourself as you start your gratitude journey! Studies show that practicing gratitude makes its most positive impact when done consistently over time.

In other words, just a week of practicing gratitude might not make you feel any different. But, don’t let that deter you! Over time, gratitude is sure to help you feel happier and more satisfied with life. 

Good luck!

It’s easy to lose track of how much time you’ve spent scrolling social media. And when that happens, not only is social media taking time away from other fun or important things you could be doing, but it could be hurting your mental health. 

Don’t think it’s that serious? 

Then you might be surprised that the American Academy of Pediatrics has recognized “Facebook depression” as a mental health disorder since 2011, defining it as, “Depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression.” 

Now consider the fact that 80% of U.S. teens report being on social media almost constantly or several times a day. Big red flag!

In today’s digital world, it’s necessary for all of us who use social media to keep tabs on how much time and energy we’re putting towards it. Because what starts out as a way to connect with others online can easily turn into addiction. 

Halcyon’s next campaign will focus on facts of social media’s relationship to mental health. We will be answering not only how social media can negatively impact mental health, but sharing the tools to insure it doesn’t.

Keep an eye on social media (yep, we know this is ironic) for the launch of the campaign, and/or subscribe to our email list!

Social media consuming too much of your time and/or zapping your energy? 

Here’s five ways to get your social media use under control, so that it doesn’t end up controlling you.

1. Get your social apps off the home screen

If the Instagram app is the first app you see when you open your phone, then it’s probably going to be the first app you open. 

Rather than having all your social media apps front and center on the home screen, put them somewhere else. On iPhone and Android, you can bundle apps together into folders so they’re not individually visible. Even making an organizational change as small as this could help you reduce your scrolling time!

Or, you can take the apps off your phone entirely. When you delete an app like Facebook or Instagram off your phone, it won’t delete your actual account. So, you’ll still be able to log in to your profiles on the computer. 

Having to sit down at a computer to look at social media prevents you from having the option to use social media in every spare moment of your day.

2. Turn off notifications

You can turn off notifications for specific apps in the settings of your phone. Doing this prevents constant notifications from your social media apps tempting you to open them! 

Not sure how? Here’s your how-to for iPhone and Android

3. Use apps to help you limit your time on social media

Using one app to make sure you’re not spending too much time on another app is definitely ironic, but that’s the world we live in! There are many apps out there designed to help users limit their social media use. Here’s a couple good ones.

If you’re an Instagram user, Instagram itself can actually help you limit your time on the app.

Forest lets you decide the amount of time (say, 30 minutes) that you want to be off your phone. During that time, a digital plant—hence the app’s name—will grow in the app. But if you use your phone before time’s up, your plant will die!

Another popular app for limiting social media use is Daywise. This app lets you schedule when you want to receive notifications and when you don’t. 

If you’re an Instagram user, Instagram itself can actually help you limit your time on the app. Go to “Your activity” in account settings and there you can see how much time you spend daily using the app. Below this you’ll see “Set Daily Reminder” where you can put in how much time you want to give yourself on the app each day, and Instagram will send you a daily reminder once you’ve reached your time limit.

iPhone has a similar function. Go to the “Screen Time” feature under “Settings” for daily and weekly reports on your screen time, as well as the option to set time limits on your phone use. 

Or, if you have Android, you can manage how you spend time on your phone with Digital Wellbeing. Click here for a step-by-step guide!

4. Dedicate time to a screen-free hobby

Pick a screen-free hobby and dedicate a certain amount of time to it each week. Find a yoga class, join a book club, start a garden: anything that doesn’t involve a screen. 

Finding more things you enjoy off-screen will make spending hours and hours glued to your screen and scrolling social media less appealing. 

5. Don’t sleep with your phone

Instead of scrolling through social media last thing before bed, turn your phone off and leave it to charge. And put it somewhere that isn’t right next to you. 

Not only will this keep you from needlessly delaying your own bed time, but it will improve the quality of your sleep, as studies show that the blue light from our phone screens is disruptive to healthy sleeping patterns.

Baby steps! 

Don’t expect yourself to jump from spending two hours a day on social media to 10 minutes in one fell swoop. 

Start by limiting your time by ten minutes a day, then check your progress in a week and go from there. 

You got this!

When we compare ourselves to others, it can lead to big problems.

Excessive comparison has been linked with increased anxiety and depressive symptoms, negative body image, sleep problems, and cyberbullying. It can also lead to destructive behaviors like lying or disordered eating.

The campaign

Recognizing the serious risks of excessive comparison, we launched a campaign to educate people on the problem and provide ways for them to manage it. 

We put together a 10-question survey to present respondents with the negative mental health outcomes of frequent comparison, as well as some statistics pertaining to the issue. 

At the end of the quiz, we included a resource blog called “5 Tips to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others” for those wanting to work on limiting comparison in their own lives.

The results

The results of this campaign were, in fact, unusual! Going by the percentages, this campaign was less successful than Halcyon’s previous campaigns in terms of mind change and behavior change (respectively, the first and second bullet points below). 

What is unique is that the percentage of “Yes” responses for behavior change (second bullet point) is higher than the percentage of “Yes” responses for mind change (first bullet point). In Halcyon’s previous campaigns, it’s been the opposite!

To sum it up:

  • 42.3% of people who took the survey stated that they cared more about the problem of comparing themselves to others after what they’d learned.*
  • 53.3% of people who took the survey stated that they would be more inclined to change the way they live to help address the problem of comparing themselves to others.**
  • 100% of people who completed the survey clicked on the resource blog.

What you can do

If you feel like you or someone you know has trouble with the problem of comparing yourself to others, just follow these quick steps.

  • Take the survey!
  • At the end of the survey, check out the resource blog for tips to stop comparing.
  • And share, share, share! 

Last but not least, if you’re inspired by what you’ve learned about this campaign, donate! When you donate to Halcyon, you help us continue to run campaigns against problems like comparison that get in the way of human flourishing.

There’s tons of positive psychology research to support a connection between gratitude and wellness. 

Gratitude can help you feel more positive emotions, appreciate positive experiences more fully, and have stronger, healthier relationships. So, it’s easy to see why gratitude is an awesome thing to practice everyday!

But, don’t just take our word for it. Here are five historical figures, dating all the way back to the classical era, who appreciated the value of gratitude.

Dalai Lama

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” 

Dalai Lama is a title given by the Tibetan people to the spiritual leader of the Gelug or “Yellow Hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama has always been a symbol of unification of the state of Tibet, as well as Buddhist values and traditions. The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso, who lives in India as a refugee.

Albert Einstein

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist and is acknowledged by many as the greatest physicist of all time. He’s known for developing the theory of relativity, as well as his contribution to the development of the theory of quantum mechanics.

Tecumseh

“When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.”

Tecumseh was a Shawnee warrior chief and persuasive orator. During the colonial era, Tecumseh succeeded in organizing a Native American confederacy, achieving an unprecedented level of inter-tribal unity.

Charlotte Brontë

“For my part, I am almost contented just now, and very thankful. Gratitude is a divine emotion: it fills the heart, but not to bursting; it warms it, but not to fever.”

Charlotte Brontë was a 19th Century English novelist and poet. Her novel Jane Eyre is one of the most recognized classics of English literature.

G.K. Chesterton

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was an English writer, philosopher, lay theologian, and critic at the turn of the twentieth century. Near the end of his life, Chesterton was invested as Knight Commander with Star of the Papal Order of St. Gregory the Great (KC*SG) by Pope Pius XI.

Rabbi Harold Kushner

“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.”

Harold Kushner is a prominent American rabbi and popular author. He is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism. He has written 14 books, including multiple bestsellers.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Protestant pastor and theologian who actively resisted the racist actions of the Nazi regime during the World War II era. In addition to his legacy of anti-Nazi dissent, Bonhoeffer’s theological writings became widely influential.

Cicero

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”

Cicero, in full Marcus Tullius Cicero (born 106 bce, died 43 bce) was an influential Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, and writer during the age of the final civil wars that destroyed the Roman Republic.

Who else?

These are just five examples of historical figures who recognized the importance of gratitude. There’s plenty more! If you’d like to see more quotes about gratitude from influential people through the years, check out this article

Gratitude opens the door for us to appreciate what we have, instead of always focusing on what we don’t. 

It’s natural to fall into the thinking that something new or different, or something someone else has, could make you happier than you are. But, the reality is this type of thinking does little to improve your mental well-being. 

Gratitude is the antidote to a “grass is greener on the other side” mentality.

Gratitude will help you feel more positive emotions, appreciate positive experiences more fully, and have stronger, healthier relationships.

There’s tons of research to support a positive connection between gratitude and individual well-being.

What’s the connection? 

Practicing gratitude has been demonstrated to increase happiness. When you practice gratitude, you’re acknowledging the things in your life that are good. 

This will help you feel more positive emotions, appreciate positive experiences more fully, and have stronger, healthier relationships.

For example, couples who take the time to express gratitude to each other not only feel more positive toward the relationship but also feel more comfortable expressing concerns about the relationship, according to one study.

Not sure how to get started?

You can practice gratitude in any number of ways. And, it doesn’t just have to be gratitude for something in your life right now. It could also be gratitude for something in the past, like a cherished memory, or gratitude for something in the future, like a family vacation you’re excited for. 

Here are three ideas for how to practice gratitude in your daily life.

1. Write a thank-you note 

You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with a friend, family member, or whoever by writing a thank-you note to express your appreciation for that person’s role in your life. 

Try to get in the habit of sending at least one thank-you note a month. You could even write one to yourself if you need a dose of self-love!

No time to sit down and pen a note the old-fashioned way? Even a little gratitude text could do the trick!

2. Keep a gratitude journal

Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you’ve received each day.

Pick a time every week to sit down (it’s easier to get going with a new habit when you make it part of your routine!) and use that time to reflect on what went right that week or what you’re grateful for. Then, write it down! 

3. Pray and/or meditate

If you’re religious, prayer’s a great way to practice gratitude. For Christians, appreciating the beauty and awesomeness of creation as a reason to thank God is a great place to start!

Not your cup of tea? Try meditating! Rather than meditating on a word or mantra, meditate on what you’re grateful for, even if it’s something simple like the weather. 

The Calm app is an awesome resource if you’re looking for guided meditations. 

Ready to get started?

Luckily, this isn’t our only blog on gratitude. Take a look through our archives for even more gratitude-focused content. We hope you find practicing gratitude to be as helpful as we do!

We also recommend viewing this awesome TED Talk on how gratitude is the key to happiness from Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk and interfaith scholar.

The word FOMO is actually an acronym. It stands for the “fear of missing out” and, if you’re like most people, this is a feeling you’ve probably experienced before.

In fact, FOMO is a recognized form of social anxiety. It can negatively affect both mood and life satisfaction and can even lead to more serious, long-term anxiety or depression.

What makes FOMO happen? Well, for starters a big contributor to FOMO is social media. This is because social media makes it possible for people to know what other people are doing all day, every day.

Think about it: when you’re stuck at work, the last thing you want to see is a picture of your friends out having fun.

So, it’s easy to see why 56% of social media users suffer from FOMO. Recognizing FOMO as a mental health risk, and seeing its prevalence in society today, Halcyon focused an entire campaign on the issue.

The campaign

We recently launched a campaign to educate people about the causes and effects of FOMO, with the end goal of equipping people with the tools to overcome FOMO in their daily lives.

We put together a 10-question quiz with the intention of presenting the facts about the problem of FOMO, both as a personal mental health risk and a common phenomenon.

At the end of the quiz, we attached a blog that could serve as a resource for people in search of ways to deal with FOMO.

The results

This campaign was less successful than some of Halcyon’s previous campaigns in terms of mind change* and behavior change**. That being said, 100% of respondents who completed our quiz visited the resource blog on how to deal with FOMO.

To sum it up:

  • 66.9% of respondents stated they care more about looking after their FOMO after what they learned from our quiz.*
  • 67.7% of respondents stated they would be more inclined to change the way they live to address FOMO.**
  • 100% of respondents who completed the quiz accessed the toolkit at the end of the quiz with 8 ways to deal with FOMO.

What you can do

If you want to learn more about FOMO’s causes and effects, as well as some ideas for how to solve it, just follow these easy steps:

  • Take our quiz!
  • Read the resource blog for 8 easy ways to deal with FOMO.
  • Share! Everyone gets FOMO. All the more reason to send your friends our quiz and help spread the word!

Donate! When you donate to the Halcyon Movement, you help us continue to bring awareness to issues like FOMO that get in the way of human flourishing.