It’s no secret that deep down, we’re all addicted to social media. There are so many different apps and networks at our disposal, it’s almost hard to not be obsessed with checking in on everyone and everything.
However, many of us are reaching a point in our lives where the addiction becomes a bit too extreme. You go on vacation to somewhere amazing and all you can think about it taking the “perfect picture” to upload to the ‘gram for those #likes. Or, maybe you’re on a dinner date to a restaurant you’ve been dying to try with your boyfriend and you’re that girl that takes a photo of her dish–with flash–to show off your food porn. And, let’s not forget the person who Snapchats the entire night out at the club–including the drunken cab ride home.
To some, these habits are completely normal and “universal,” seeing as many of us grew up in the digital age. But, to others, it looks narcissistic, annoying, and downright rude. Some people in this world are in dire need of a “social media cleanse.”
Essentially a medical way to put “taking a break from social media,” a social media cleanse is not all that new or taboo. In fact, many celebrities have taken a break from social media when the going has gotten too tough, or, they just needed some R&R away from the spotlight.
While it seems to be minuscule in the larger scheme of your life, taking a break from social media can actually do wonders for your mind, body, and soul.
1. You can get a better night’s sleep.
Many of us go to bed, planning to get at least eight or nine hours of sleep, but somehow end up on our phone until 3 a.m. While using our phone in bed isn’t the worst thing in the world, the longer we do it, the less likely we are to get a good night’s sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that when we use our phones in bed before we’re about to go to sleep, the blue light that comes from the screen can interfere with our melatonin production, which can interfere with our ability to get a good night’s rest.
Think of it this way–are you able to fall asleep/get in the mood for sleep when you have a giant light in your face? I doubt it–which is why you likely shut off your lights/TV when you’re ready to go to bed.
Taking a break from social media and social media apps gives you less to do on your phone (unless, like me, you still play Candy Crush from time to time).
2. You can help you regain your self-esteem.
Social media and selfies have increased the idea that our self-worth is dependant on the ability of others to “like” our photos and statuses. The more likes we get, the better we feel about ourselves overall.
But, imagine a world where you didn’t have the ability to ask 1,000 people if your “outfit of the day” was “on point.” Would you still feel as good about yourself leaving the house? Far too often, people who use social media lose their self-esteem and self-love to the validation of others. They’re no longer able to feel good about themselves without having others compliment them frequently.
Expert Beverly D. Flaxington points out that seeking validation online never leads to true happiness. Instead, we have to find self-worth and happiness within ourselves. The longer we rely on others for it, the less likely we are to ever develop these skills.
3. It can mellow you out.
Whenever we scroll through social media–no matter what platform–there are things that trigger us to react angrily and annoyed. Maybe we saw a bunch of our friends out for dinner and we didn’t get an invite. Or, maybe a childhood friend on Facebook posts from pro-Trump articles and we just CAN’T DEAL. Whatever the case may be, experts claim that social media has been linked to increasing anger in individuals who frequently use it.
4. It will make you far less depressed/anxious.
Numerous studies over the years have discovered that increased social media use was also linked to higher depression. The reason, according to experts, seems to be the notion that people choose to share their “best moments” on social media, and we end up in a competitive mind state.
While Jenny from high school is sharing her engagement photo shoot with her huge diamond ring, she’s not sharing the fight her and her fiancé had the night before about his ex-girlfriend. We tend to compare our “behind-the-scenes” moments to their “big debuts.” People tend to withhold the real moments of their life from social media and only broadcast those extra perfect ones. But when we compare reality to a staged Hallmark card, we’ll always fall short.
5. It can allow you to form your own opinions on things.
When we use social media often enough, we’re flooded with the thoughts, opinions, and views of everyone we know (and even some we don’t). While hearing the other side of topics and causes is important in formulating your own opinion, social media has been linked to radicalizing user’s opinions.
Sophia Moskalenko Ph.D. claims that the ability to remain anonymous on social media and push a radicalized agenda can lead to further influence across a broader audience. If you’re only talking to people face-to-face, you can only reach so many. But, with the power of social media, you can reach millions in a split second. It can have extremely dangerous effects.