This week I have removed all forms of social media from my phone; Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, and I wanted to voice my findings. I have recently returned from Australia and have found myself suffering from forms of anxiety, feeling low or lack of self worth; feelings I have felt prior to Australia but have significantly increased since returning to the UK.
This cleanse began for me as I downloaded an app informing me of the amount of hours I spent each day on said platforms, an app I suggest you download. Truly it is terrifying to learn the volume of time and energy spent on these apps day in and day out. On average, I was spending 6 hours a day. First thing in the morning, I would reach for my phone, as soon as my eyes opened and the mindless scrolling would begin. Before the day could start I had to catch up on anything I missed whilst I slept and again, last thing at night before sleeping. It was constant, an addiction. I had to know what everyone was doing every second of the day. I would scroll until I was caught up. I would refresh every few minutes. I would even attempt to put my phone down and lock the screen, only to discover a few minutes later I was back scrolling again. Mindless scrolling.
Worryingly, this has become a norm in this century. The more conscious and aware you become, the more terrifying it truly is to realise, technology which has had such a focus on "connecting" one another to those furthest away, you become more disconnected to the ones surrounding you. Everywhere you look. Restaurants, cinemas, dates, meetings, commutes. No one is capable of putting these devices down for more than a second. Couples sat across from one another, head in their phones. People have become so used to communicating through their devices, I fear we are losing touch with human interaction all together.
This discovery encouraged me to take the initiative, a break from social media. Can you honestly say you have ever felt good after mindlessly scrolling on Instagram for hours? I for one can say I haven't. My feed is full of fitness enthusiasts with 6 packs, travel bloggers who are constantly on holiday, and worst of all people you know, who are foreseen to be living a greater life than you. The ability to visualise a snapshot into people's lives truly leaves you questioning your own. How do I achieve a 6 pack? How are they on holiday all the time? How are they able to afford all these clothes? It leaves you wanting more. Wanting new clothes. A new job. To be living "your best life" on a beach somewhere. When in reality, are peoples' lives this great? What's wrong with your own life? I'm sure that's pretty great too.
The problem with social media is, people only show their best life. Yes in that one photo, they may appear to have everything. The body, holiday destination, clothes etc. But you do not have visulisation into the other 23 hours of that persons’ day. Stop focusing and comparing yourself to others. I can honestly say, this week I have focused on myself, those around me whom I love and remaining happy in the present moment. My anxiety and low moods have reduced because I have no one to compare myself too and it's great.
Notice how much more engaged you are, improvement in conversation and in the environment around you. Try it for yourself. I hope you find it as rewarding as I have.