In recent times, people are so deeply entrenched in the web of social media that they forget to enjoy the small moments and embrace life to the fullest. On one side, social media has opened doors for people to connect with long-lost friends and on the other hand, it has made us overly dependent on it for attention and gratification. In an article published in Psychology Today in September 2012, it was stated that an average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day. (And this was 6 full years ago) That’s a lot of time, right? Time that you could have spent either playing a sport, reading a book or going for a walk. Dr Neha Patel, psychologist at Nanavati Hospital, Vile Parle, tells us everything you need to know about the nature of social media addiction and how to do a digital detox.
The Nature of Social Media Enslavement
1. Break The Monotonous Comparison Cycle
In obtaining the right amount of time for yourself, you need to step away from your mobile phones, laptops and PCs. You need to stop comparing your life with other people and let the truth about your reality sink in for a while. It will help you introspect and learn more about yourself.
2. Social Media Consumes A Lot of Time
You will never realise how much time you spend maintaining your social identity. Walking for 30 minutes per day offers huge physical and mental health benefits, which makes it a much better usage of your time than scrolling through your Facebook news feed.
3. Social Media Is An Untruthful Reality
People selectively post what they want others to see. And this allows everyone to flaunt their good sides while hiding their bad ones. Nobody’s profile truly reflects who they are as a person, it’s all filtered and sterilised.
4. Social Media Promotes Selfish Behaviour
As everybody has fast moving lives in which we create stories and post pictures on social media, it promotes nassarcistic behaviour. It’s all about your own satisfaction and gratification, and as you chase more and more likes, you can get swallowed up in yourself.
Ways to Detox from Social Media
1. Keep Anti-Social App in Your Mobile
When it comes to using your phone for social media applications, it becomes really easy to tap on the buttons and start using the applications. There is an Anti-Social app which reminds us about our usage of social media in numbers. You can benchmark your behaviour against that of your peers, comparing usage to others in your age range, state or even occupation.
2. Uninstall All Social Media Accounts And Use Push Notifications
Try uninstalling all your social media accounts. This is tough but soon you will realise that this leaves you with space for other productive applications for you to find a greater inspiration than likes, shares or re-tweets. Deactivate all your accounts for the time being, this is the start of your digital detox. You can always be active through text messages, calls and emails.
3. Replace Social Media With Any Activity
Try to find any activity which you can do in the free time that you have now. It can be an indoor hobby or maybe a sport that you wanted to play but couldn’t find the time.
Social media affects the brain in the same way that a hug does. Expert from the article mentioned above agree that it takes approximately three months (or 100 days) for dopamine levels, a chemical that is released that creates a feeling of pleasure and reward, to return to normal. It may take longer depending on how long and how intensely you’ve been addicted. So don’t be surprised if it takes up to six months or even a year. Just power through your detox, and you’ll be fine!