Social media is a wonderful networking and marketing tool that has broadened the horizons of businesses, allowed families to connect from across the globe and introduced new career prospects for individuals. It has had a profound effect on society, with the average person spending almost 2 hours per day browsing the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or sending snaps via Snapchat, connecting individuals like never before.
However, with these positives has come reduced productivity, privacy concerns, the social comparison cycle, competitiveness, fear of missing out, a lack of connection with the real world and often it can wreak havoc on a person’s moods. Coming from a personal perspective, I’ve experienced all of these negative impacts at some point or other. I’ve also experienced the hours wasted mindlessly scrolling through social media platforms, sucked into the vortex of images of images and words.
Where do I go from here?
This is a question I’ve been asking myself quite frequently since I’ve finally opened my eyes to society’s addiction, and admitted my own addiction to social media. While it does have positives for me – like helping keep in touch with friends and family, allowing me to find and follow like-minded individuals in the metaphysical and spiritual realm and alerting me to events I’d like to attend that I’d otherwise not known about. It’s also wasted a lot of the time which could’ve been better spent reading, being outside and generally spent being mindful and present in the real world.
Along with this, I’ve also uncovered the greatest realisation of all – that social media has created insecurities in myself through comparisons with Instagram models, YouTube stars and other individuals whose content I follow and engage with. It’s not healthy to be constantly comparing myself to these people and their lives!
Steps to Freedom
Starting at the beginning of this year, I have been much more mindful of the content that I am exposing myself to and trying to limit my exposure. While a complete detox from social media would be preferable, if is part of my day job, so unfortunately this isn’t achievable – and let’s face it, in today’s digital world, refraining from social media is extremely difficult.
Instead, I’ve become more conscious and aware of the implications of social media and am diligently going to implement (and try to stick to) some parameters…
Only following and engaging with content that serves me
By this I mean, only allowing those on my Instagram and Facebook feed whose content is something I support and that doesn’t bring down my confidence, focus or place me into a negative mindset. Consider turning off notifications for those friends and acquaintances who have tendencies to post negativity and encourage drama.
No social media before bed
Bedtime is a time to encourage rest, winding down and easing into sleep. Studies have shown that social media and devices generally, stimulate the brain and make sleep more difficult. Even though I don’t experience that side effect (or not yet anyway!), that kind of stimulation isn’t necessary before bed.
Instead, I’m keeping my bedside table stocked with books, I’m currently reading Miracles Happen by Dr Brian Weiss and I’ve got a few more lined up on Tarot, Oracle, Crystal Healing and some from Deepak Chopra.
Try to check social media less throughout the day
Now, no kidding, this is a hard one for me! The temptation starts as soon as I wake up and turn off my phone alarm. Mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, checking Instagram stories, seeing what everyone else is up to. Not a great start to the day, especially when someone’s drinking cocktails by the pool and I’m off to work on a Monday morning!
Be prepared for negative responses
Sometimes I feel like posting content is only inviting negativity from the responses I receive. Of course I have filtered my friends list, but I can’t remove everyone and there’s often those opinionated ones that need to weigh in with their $0.02.
Being mentally prepared for this is important, especially if the post is quite important to me. If I’m not in the right headspace to receive possible negative comments, it’s better just to press delete!
Learning to live in the moment and take everything in is something that I really need to work on. I’m so guilty of finishing off a plate of food at a restaurant then exclaiming “OMG, I forgot to instagram it!” then feeling sad and annoyed at myself. In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t impact my life at all whether I share a photo or not – so this is something I’m working on! Being present in the moment and experiencing the sights, sounds, tastes, etc. while spending time with those around me is wayyyyyy more important!
Have you ever thought about your social media usege? Have you ever gone on a ‘detox’? Do you have any other tips for me besides what I’ve included?
I’d love to hear from you! Comment below or join the discussion on Facebook or Instagram.
Love and light x