Updated: Mar 23
Written by: Brady Johnson Published: March 23rd, 2022
Lesson #6: Take a break from Social Media
Do you ever sit back and think about how much of our day is consumed by social media? As of a couple years ago, the average American spent 2 hours a day on social media. If that pace is kept up for a lifetime, that comes out to 5 years and 4 months in one person’s lifetime of time just spent on social media. I know that that seems rather unrealistic, but all I would ask is to monitor your time on such apps like Instagram because before you know it you could get lost in the algorithm. And I get it, it is easy to get lost in the algorithm, you're not alone, “Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram produce the same neural circuitry that is caused by gambling and recreational drugs to keep consumers using their products as much as possible.” (addictioncenter). The creators of social media apps want you to stay on as long as possible because the longer you stay on, the larger their profit. Just remember that their motives aren’t always in your best interest, know yourself and know what is best for you.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” - Teddy Roosevelt. Think about it. Teddy Roosevelt certainly was not posting on Instagram after he won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1906, yet he knew the harmful effects that comparison can have on the mind. No age has had to endure the burden of comparison more than the current age. A majority of the time when people post on social media, it is motivated by trying to be better than the next person. They want to seem like they are having more fun, are better looking, and are overall living a better life.
As pessimistic as I am there are positives to social media, of course there are, I will not deny that. The reason I am so skeptical about the whole concept of it is because it is so easy to get lost in the apps and lose track of why you use it in the first place. But let's focus on the positives for a minute. Social Media has brought a new age of free advertising and marketing. The ability to connect with others to get out a brand or business is only a click away, it has never been so easy to get exposure. Even for us at Inspire Others, Instagram has been a huge help in connecting us with our followers through daily quotes of the day, and notifications when we have a blog post coming out. Also, when you follow the right people, you have an art gallery right at your fingertips, it is easy to satisfy cultural and artistic appetites, even if you are living vicariously through someone else’s experience.
FOMO. Fear of Missing Out. As much as you might think that this feeling alludes to you, it is always there. For those who don’t know, FOMO occurs when you see other people out having fun somewhere where you are not. You feel excluded, the thoughts run through the mind of why you weren’t invited, if you should ask to go, and whether or not it really is that fun. It is not a good feeling to feel left out, nobody wants that. Researchers found that parts of the brain that deal with emotional and sensory processing reacted noticeably when participants felt excluded. When social media users are excluded from online groups, chats, or events, the brain reacts in these specific regions directly. So if you ever get the feeling of FOMO, just remember that it is only one day, that feeling does not last forever and there will be plenty of time in the future where you will be having fun.
I have deleted and re-downloading social media countless times. I first deleted it in October of 2020 after I realized that I realized that my social media consumption was creating bad habits. Due to being in isolation, I resorted to more time on social media for my social life. I soon realized that being there for yourself and learning to appreciate the time by yourself is more important than communicating with people over Snapchat. You have to be there for yourself before all else.
Loneliness is definitely one of the feelings that increases my urge to delete social media. Seeing people you haven’t seen in a while over a screen can sometimes do more harm than good. And if you don’t have a strong relationship with yourself, social media can just be a band aid to temporarily distract the deeper wound.
So, I ask you to try a couple of things this week in order to better your relationship with Social Media.
Monitor your time spent on Social Media, set a timer for say 30 minutes a day
Find a new activity that gives you pleasure
Do a little research into how Social Media has an impact on your mind using the links below
Make sure that the first thing you do in the morning is not checking your phone, start off your day in a productive way, meditation or praying
Be mindful of what makes you happy, know when you are comparing your life and when you should take a break
Peace and love as always,