Have you been feeling a bit low lately, but you can’t quite put your finger on why? It may have something to do with your social media habits. According to a recent study, social media use can increase depression and loneliness.
For years people have suspected that social media use might have an ability to negatively impact our mental well-being. After all, it’s hard not to feel inadequate or jealous when looking at photos of people whose lives seem so much more perfect than ours. But now research is actually making a definitive link between spending time on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and a sense of loneliness and isolation.
It May be Time for a Social Media Detox
I encourage my clients to take a social media detox every now and then to gain a more positive sense of reality. They often report back to me that the detox offered some amazing and unexpected benefits such as:
When you take a break from comparing yourself to other people, you can start to look at how great you and your own life really are.
New Interests and Hobbies
When you spend less time trying to get that social approval in the form of ‘likes’, ‘retweets’, and ‘upvotes’, you suddenly find you have a lot of time on your hands for other things.
Improves Your Mood
Trading in online friendships for real face-to-face ones makes us feel more grounded and connected to people. This can drastically improve our mood and sense of well-being.
Many people are on their mobile phone in bed, checking their social media accounts. The blue light from these devices disrupts our sleep pattern. When we put these devices away, we inevitably sleep better.
Able to Enjoy the Moment More
I am a big proponent of daily mindfulness. By being present in our lives, we feel an increased sense of peace and joy. That’s priceless.
So how do you perform a social media detox?
Follow these 4 steps:
Temporarily deactivate your accounts. Don’t worry, you can reactivate them again in the future should you choose.
Remove all Social Media Apps and notification pathways from your devices.
Use a web filtering tool to block social media sites. (Why tempt yourself?)
Be prepared for some withdrawal symptoms and have other activities ready to replace the void.
If you follow these steps and take a break from social media, chances are you will find you feel a whole lot better!
Chelsy A. Castro, JD, MA, AM, LCSW