For some, checking social media has become a full-blown addiction where likes, comments, and shares are craved. This has even seen some Australians prefer virtual interaction to face-to-face conversation.
Such was the case for me
My Instagram addiction had grown to the point where I was uploading content to my Stories at least five times a day and was checking my feed, on average, every 15 minutes. I was telling myself (because I’m a journalist) that I needed to be up to date with the latest news and gossip – but that was a false truth I gave myself and I got comfortable with it for a while.
People didn’t have to ask me about how my day went, they already knew. They knew what I had for breakfast, who I met with that day, and how I was feeling.
My life had been watered down to a swipe on a screen and I was not happy
I felt like I was not good enough for the real world, my life was boring, and I did not look like a bubbly put together social butterfly getting sponsored by brands and going to amazing events.
Then it hit me: why was I feeling like less of a woman because I didn’t fit a digital mould? I realised I lost my power to tell myself who I was and placed my worth in the hands of virtual strangers.
So, I have done some research and it turns out I’m not the only one in this situation. Studies have been done to see how much social media influences our lives.
Users of social media spend a whopping 135 minutes on average on various platforms every day according to a worldwide study by Statista, consuming unfiltered content that can significantly impact their mental health and impair their moods.
So, why is social media so addictive?
Scientists have proven the part of the brain that is stimulated when taking a drug, is the same part of the brain that gets triggered when content you share gets liked. It’s all about the pleasure-based chemical dopamine.
Those who recognise their social media addiction have tried different ways to combat it, with some opting to cut themselves off completely by deleting or deactivating their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat accounts.
Results from a recent University of Queensland study showed that taking breaks of several days, rather than going cold-turkey on social media, is more beneficial for reducing stress.
5 Reasons why I gave social media a break:
Social media can blur the lines between real and online relationships. Taking a break can allow you to reinvigorate the relationships you have with those around you, while highlighting how much time is invested in web-based relationships that may not hold much actual value or meaning.
The comparison game
The constant use of social media can make users feel like they are lacking, or not good enough. Social media doesn’t always reflect real life – remember that and remember that everyone’s different!
The constant rollercoaster of news, personal feeds, and snaps of everyday living can create stress and impact on your happiness. Take a break and remind yourself of who you are and where you find your happiness.
Fighting the feelings
Don’t feel like you’re missing out on all the fun. You can’t be everywhere at once. Get off your phone, get out there, and make your own fun. Importantly, invest in the moment when you do!
Users spend hours on social media every day, when in fact that time could be spent with family and friends and making new memories. So much time is lost on social media – take a break and connect with the people, places, things, and activities around you.
When I switched off from my social channels…
I felt like I had more time, I wasn’t as stressed, and I got tasks done. The temporary switch off empowered me to say no and remember who I was before I was concerned about likes and shares. It was time for me to stop consuming and start creating things in my life I was proud of.
For anyone else who struggles not to constantly check their phone, I believe a digital detox might be just the ticket.
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- Put down the phone and give your mind a break from social media - April 27, 2018