So, I’ve mentioned the need to discuss this topic in some of my previous writings. I feel like now is a better time than ever to jump right in, shall we?
It’s such a significant issue these days. Do we stay plugged in? Do we log off? Do we delete our accounts? Do we detox for a while? Do we unfollow people? Do we mute them? Do we just give it up all together? I mean… it’s consumed us hasn’t it? I’ll admit when I hear of my friends and family deciding to quit it altogether, I worry. Not because I feel I’d lose touch with them, after all, we should still communicate beyond social media shouldn’t we? Truth is, I’m far more concerned for their well-being.
Now more than ever I see how detrimental it is to keep our mental health in check. Our mental capacity is so restricted these days. We’ve become a lot less patient with each other, not because we have “anger management” issues, but because our spirits are distressed by the way people are communicating on social media. I mentioned this in the intro to my previous blog, issalivestyle.com/2021/08/13/breathe-just-breathe-sky-breath-meditation-the-mindful-movement/
We’re being controlled, or should I say, we somehow feel like we’re being controlled by an app. That’s exactly what’s going on here. It’s consumed us! Myself included, I’ve been there and can attest to having been part of the struggle. The “algorithm” movement is keeping us locked in.
My first thought when I hear someone say, “I’m closing my social media account. It’s too much…” is, don’t you know that there are settings? There are options? YOU HAVE OPTIONS! Let’s discuss them…
You can mute. You can unfollow. You can restrict. You can set your privacy settings. Yes, you can! You can choose what you want to see, and limit what you don’t. So why haven’t you? The reality? Part of the underlying reason is, we care more about what others think than we’d like to admit. It’s okay. We’re only human. In fact, fellow blogger, Jason Zook lists this as one of the reasons as to how social media “controls us”.
- We all care what people think of us.
- We all want to feel accepted.
- We all want to feel liked.
- But social media is corrupting our minds and we have to take back control.
“Social media multiplies those thoughts and feelings without us even realizing it. It’s not healthy to always be under the knife of criticism. In a digital world, we need a break from having our lives judged and commented on (often times by complete strangers who we don’t align with).” If you’re interested in reading Mr. Zook’s account of his 30 day social media detox, click on the following link. You’d be surprised as to what he concluded at the end of this 30 day experience. Or, maybe you know exactly how the story ends because, well… you’ve been there. Either way, it’s worth checking out. (https://wanderingaimfully.com/social-media-detox-recap/ )
What a valid point Mr. Zook makes there. IF in fact, we have “friends” we don’t align with, is that a good reason to “unfriend” or “unfollow” them? Here’s what I think. We live in a current state of the world where people feel much more comfortable expressing themselves through a social media handle and/or behind the “lens”. Much more so than they would ever feel expressing their views face to face. Does that make them wrong? It depends on the views. If it’s spewing hatred, negativity, and its affecting your emotional state, etc… then maybe it’s time to make the drastic change. But, if it’s someone expressing their views, their beliefs, in a civilized way, without harming others… well, that’s freedom of speech.
Where I’ve seen things get hairy is when “self-expression” turns into arrogant regurgitation of your own internal views to the extent that you are then putting someone down. Now, that’s a bit much. In that case, if it’s someone you otherwise admire, for other personality traits and characteristics and value the connection… feel free to use those settings (mute, restrict, unfollow), but don’t feel the need to express your own contrasting views. What for? Is it going to be well received?
Insider Magazine reports on the importance of taking social media breaks noting that, “studies show that spending too much time scrolling can increase feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.” Are we shocked about these findings? Do we see how that could be? Have you felt this way through this pandemic? With the increased reporting of natural disasters and people struggling all over the world? IF that’s the case, then it’s time you take a break from social media.
On the flip side, Insider Magazine further reports that “social isolation and loneliness can negatively impact health.” So, it’s a double edged sword you see? The key? To be conscious of how you’re using it. If “sedentary behavior is keeping you from living a life outside of your phone and you start comparing your life to others,” then it may be time to release the bondage. Let’s be honest about this one… by show of shameful hands… who has been there? Not intentionally, but somehow seeing others posts all of a sudden brings forth the spirit of comparison. The idea that your life all of a sudden is not up to par because you’ve seen Karen is doing “so much better.” Come on now? Really? Do we not know by now that people will post what they want you to see? And will refrain from posting the not so flattering parts of their lives?
Guess what, that’s okay… as long as you’re balancing it out. But are you obligated to do so? Maybe you just want to post while on vacation. Maybe you just want to post what you eat. Maybe you just want to post your workouts. Or, positive quotes. That’s okay. You’re not obligated to share your life with the world. Only share what you are comfortable with. AND THAT’S OKAY!
See where I’m going with this? There are so many possibilities when it comes to others preferences and purpose of their uses of social media. If your business depends on it…. Post away! So long as it is in alignment with your brand, this strategy will make it worth your while. Social media marketing is the best form of marketing. And it’s FREE. I’m certain my fellow entrepreneurs would agree here. 😉 Though it comes with its own set of risks and loads of trial and error.
So here are a few signs (as described in the Insider Magazine article) that indicates it may be time for you to take a break from social media:
- It’s not fun anymore.
- You’re comparing yourself to others.
- You’re scrolling endlessly and mindlessly.
- It’s the last thing you see at night.
- Goes from nice to have to need to have.
You see, the common theme here is lack of self-control. Ask God for guidance if you feel it’s become a stronghold. If it’s affected your life so much that you find it nearly impossible to pull away from, maybe you just need some inspiration. Something that will bring you back to focus. Maybe it’s this piece, or maybe it’s some other factor. I’ll tell you the one thing that made me realize that it was time to pull back was listening to this song by Jonathan Reynolds, let this bless you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiycqP-kCKE
I found that I was using social media so much that I had no excuse for not having stayed on track with my spiritual development. That was on me. THIS SONG, got me all the way together. Talk about realigned!
So how do you move forward from here? Here are some tips shared by Insider Magazine on how to reduce the use of social media and focus on yourself:
- Turn off notifications.
- Prioritize self-care.
- Allot time to use social media.
- Plug your phone up across the room so you don’t scroll before bed.
- Use social media tracking apps.
Take time to regroup and center yourself. https://www.insider.com/taking-a-break-from-social-media
Ultimately, you have to do what’s best for you. Yes, we’re back to YOU. Close your eyes and imagine a life without social media. Does it make you panic? Or do you feel freed? There’s no better feeling than being freed from something that is holding you back. When I was decided on making a change with respect to my use of social media, I began by using mindfulness reminders. I’ve shared this with friends who’ve also found it helpful in their search for detachment from social media. Try downloading this app and setting it for a slot of time in your day where you find social media distracts you the most.
I started with a four hour fast. From 10am to 2pm. I felt that during these times I was most distracted by social media searching. And though initially it took some constant redirection, I soon was right on track. I later increased it to six hours, and so forth. Try it for yourself:
Something else I found helpful in my search for mindfulness with social media was unfollowing the people and/or pages that weren’t uplifting and following more pages that were. Pages that filled my cup and didn’t take away from it. Pages that fueled me and didn’t deplete me. I hope my page and site does just that for you.
As always, I hope this read has blessed you redirect your thinking. Always bringing it back to the person that matters most, YOU! If in fact it spoke to you, and you know someone who could benefit from this inspiration, share share share! See you on the flip side. Love, Lin.