This is a collaborative post by Ellie Jo about the benefits of a social media detox.
We know by now that the domination of the internet in our everyday lives is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the transformative access to knowledge and the ability to connect with others has revolutionized all our lives for good. On the darker side, everyone has tales of the less pleasant side of the internet – the constant comparison and addictive behavior that can sometimes come from internet use. The key is to make sure that you are always in control. Doing a regular social media detox is one way in which many people manage their use of the internet and make sure it’s an enhancement to their lives.
Benefits of Social Media Detox
A Chemical Reaction
Many of our favorite websites and apps are purpose-engineered to trigger the release of dopamine in our brains – a highly addictive chemical. This reward-seeking mindset comes about from certain triggers engineered into our feeds. There are many attributes of certain sites that have been designed to feed into this – the instant gratification of likes and comments, the unpredictable stimulus and the anticipation of reward. All of this combines into a slow hook approach. If your use of these channels is not managed, then you can quickly find yourself becoming dependent on that pinging notification feed.
Managing Your Social Media
Taking a proactive approach to your social media use is key to stop the creep of addiction – and what you do depends on what you want to achieve. Many people who find themselves spending too much with the constant bombardment of advertising on their social media channels have been switching to the Vero App – a new network which does not take advertising which ranks the latest content first, so you actually see your friend’s updates and not a manipulated home feed designed to sell you things.
If you have more of a problem with compulsively checking your feed, you could try installing an app that helps you manage your time on the internet or social media by blocking them at pre-set times. Other people make a rule that they won’t check their phones between a certain time, and put them in a drawer in the house. How you go about your detox is a matter of analyzing what in particular you’re struggling with and creating a plan which helps with that and supports your wellbeing.
The Benefits Of Planning A Detox
As social media has many positives – keeping you connected with far-flung family and friends, allowing you to connect with people for support and keeping you informed – a proactive plan helps to keep it positive. There are many gains if you have the self-discipline to balance your use. Social media can surround us with a false reality, where everyone else looks like they are having the time of their life constantly. Even if we know this is unlikely to be accurate, the constant comparisons have the effect of making us feel lower about our own lives and judging ourselves to be less happy. So sometimes, it’s a good idea to escape the echo chamber of opinion and take a break. Then you can return to your feed mentally refreshed and in touch with reality.
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.