5 Ways a Social Media Cleanse Can Unclog Your Brain
Social Media is sneaky. It creeps up on us like a rising tide on the beach. As we bask in the sun, distracted by our smartphone, the cold wet fingers of the ocean imperceptively at first, clutch at our toes and before we know, we’re underwater, drowning in food porn and memes.
Facebook is ubiquitous and Zuckerberg taps us like maple trees and profits from the drip, drip of our emotions, personal history, and neediness. We willingly give this up because we fear missing out on what our connections are up to. How will they know what we had for dinner if we don’t post it?
We invest a lot of time inventing new personas, projecting who we would like to be while omitting those parts of us we deem undesirable or “not on brand”. It’s human to seek validation. We know we shouldn’t seek it, but like sugar, it’s addictive and just as bad for us. A friend is someone who has our back. How many FB friends would have yours?
While there are some good things that come from being on social media such as the ability to:
– Stay up to date with family and friends.
– Find new friends and communities.
– Join or promote worthwhile causes.
– Find an outlet for your creativity and self-expression and
– Discover sources of valuable information and learning.
There are reasons we may want to consider a cleanse.
It can free you up so that you have more time for other things.
How many times do you say to yourself that you’ll just quickly check your FB wall then, an hour later, your eyes are tired as you climb out of the rabbit hole? It only makes sense that if you stop dedicating time to one thing, you free up time for other things. Oh, I don’t know – stuff like going to a park, hanging out IRL with friends, working out…
If you don’t want to go “cold turkey”, perhaps designate a “tech-free” day.
It can help you to reprioritize more personal forms of interaction.
Now that we’re climbing out of the COVID red zone and into the green, take advantage of it. Call, text or “carrier pigeon” your friends and arrange a face-to-face. A ZOOM call can’t replace meeting in person, and it certainly doesn’t allow for hugs.
It might help you sleep better.
Do you go to bed with your smartphone? Do you scroll through your Instagram and Facebook feeds just to see if you missed anything? Remember that rabbit hole? 23:00 suddenly becomes 24:00 and now your brain is digesting all the new data you fed it and as it races, you can’t sleep.
And then there’s the screen itself, “…artificial light (like from your phone or your TV) can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin—the hormone responsible for helping you get to sleep.”
It might help you relax a little bit more.
A break from technology can help some people mitigate anxiousness. It’s that FOMO thing again, “Fear of Missing Out”. A social media cleanse could lessen your feeling obligated to stay plugged in. Responding Pavlov-like to Facebook, and other platform notifications can be stressful. Social media is a tool. You aren’t. It’s useful only when you know how to use it.
It might avoid shaking your self-confidence.
I don’t think I’m letting any cat out of a bag when I say that we don’t always post our “reality” on social media. It’s normal for us to want to present ourselves in the best light. But there’s a difference between not airing our “dirty laundry” and passing off stock images of our fictional designer wardrobe.
Even if you know that much of what appears in your stream is BS, scrolling through a friend’s airbrushed selfies, their latest exotic holiday or their exciting new work promotion can make you feel envious or worse, inadequate.
We’re all a bit like Alice who, having stepped through the looking glass, finds herself in a place that gets “curiouser and curiouser” as she ventures further and further.
If you think that you’re spending too much time on social media, there’s a good chance that you probably are. Put the lid on the sugar bowl, push away from the table then “get up, get out and just do it”. Live in the 3D world. It’s cool. It’s like you’re there – for real.
*(Resource attribution: 5 Potential Mental Health Benefits of Deleting Social Media By Lindsey Lanquist