Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Reviews Are Killing Your Happiness. How To Build Resilience, Reduce Anxiety and Put Some Adventure Into Your Life

Online reviews can be useful for avoiding crooks but they also fuel mental health issues, including anxiety and low resilience.

If you compare living in 1980 (yes, I'm that old!) to living in 2023, there's a huge difference: there is very little spontaneity.

Too much information isn't good for your health
Too much information isn't good for your health

Deciding where to eat

1980s lunch: walk past a new place, like the look of it and go in – or your friend calls to say let's check it out

2023: Google for reviews, to see the menu, then check influencer opinion, maybe Google the owner or the chef, see if anyone you know has been and what they say – oh, and TripAdvisor


Picking a hotel for a week's holiday

1980: look at a travel brochure that lists a dozen or so hotels there and pick the one with the prettiest picture and a price tag you can afford.

2023: Google all hotels and airbnbs, check the different room photos, work out how far local attractions are, see what food they offer and read the top ten good reviews and the top bottom reviews on Google and TripAdvisor, then check Twitter and Insta

The Pros of Checking Online Reviews

Online reviews give us a sense of security. Reading reviews means we can predict what kind of experience we are likely to have and therefore it is easier to avoid poor experiences.  

What's great is that if you are making a big investment, like buying a car or luxury holiday, you are less likely to pick a model or destination that doesn't work for you.

hyper focus on having only joyful or positive experiences kills resilience and adventure
Hyper focus on positives has consequences
How Checking Online Reviews Impacts on Mental Health

What sucks is that we hyper focus on having only joyful or positive experiences.

We are so keen to avoid anything uncomfortable or neutral, that we become less adventurous. We actively avoid taking chances, so we end up removing potential fun and adventure out of life.

Also, it is massively time consuming. You may spend more time fixating on finding the perfect dinner or hotel than you do eating at the restaurant or spending on your holiday.

Hassan won't go to a new restaurant unless it rates a 4+ over more than fifty reviews – and misses out on the 3 star coffee shop that does noodles just the way he loves them.

Jenny spent four evenings checking for rooms with sea views before booking her long weekend break at the beach – time that she could have spent having fun

Maura checks the reviews for every coffee shop in the new mall before deciding where to meet her friends for a trip the cinema – overkill much? It's just coffee!

Bill visits new pubs recommended by influencers even though he walks past two new places on his way to work – missing out on adventure and experiences

Finally, checking reviews is really about trying to control our environment. That is poor strategy because the world is complex. We cannot predict everything, it's not possible.  

As a result, trying and failing to control our environment fuels our anxiety and reduces resilience. We are less good at navigating neutral or poor experiences. So our coping skills suffer. In addition, the false belief "If I'd googled better I would be having a 5 star time" adds to our discomfort, piling on irrational blame and guilt.

Mental Health Boost: How To Add Adventure To Your Life

Gong Xi Fa Cai! May the Year of the Rabbit bring you lots of good luck and health, prosperity and love.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
So for the Year of the Rabbit, I suggest you embrace adventure. Introduce a bit of 1980 into your life:

·         Go to the mall and eat in the third restaurant you see.

·         Go to the cinema and see whatever is on first.

·         In a restaurant you know, try the dish you've never had before.

·         When you walk past a new place, go in.

Live a little, learn to have a good laugh at stuff that doesn't work out perfectly well.  Embrace life!

Gong Xi Fa Cai! May the Year of the Rabbit bring you lots of good luck and health, prosperity and love.

Images by Public DomainRaka C. and Gerd Altmann from Pixabay