Fact: We are losing ourselves… to social media.
In this superficial, man-made world of #hashtags and re-tweets, it is easy to get caught up. If you happen to get lost somewhere between the Twittersphere, the ‘Gram’, and/or Snapchat, you know that it is not easy to kick the habit. We become somewhat obsessed with double taps, re-tweets, re-blogs.. and of course, the ever-so-dangerous screenshot.
“Am I not beautiful enough? ” some say as they lament their paltry likes. “They look like they had so much fun,” envious followers mumble. “She seems so happy! I want her life,” users exclaim as they gawk at an I.G model’s photos. But is what we see actually what it appears to be? Or could it be what the user wants us to perceive?
I will tell you straight up… social media, the land of make-believe that dangles up in the clouds of the digital realm, is all smoke and mirrors. Beneath the doctored photos, plastered smiles, and the lovey-dovey couple facades that we so easily believe, lies many ugly truths and a maddened scramble for likes to put a band-aid on wounds of insecurity.
The worst part about society’s adaptations regarding social media is that it has come to a point where some of us don’t feel validated until someone — anyone — reaches for that heart-shaped button to boost our self-worth. This is detrimental to our health. Last year, reports from the University of California and the University of Missouri found a link between social media usage and symptoms of depression.
Oh yeah, it’s that serious.
As we drown into the destructive habit of comparing ourselves to our peers, our mental health begins to submerge into a dark, bleak place where — sadly — the only source of light comes in the form of a double-tap. So how do we escape this downward spiral? We need to focus on the well-being of our minds. In the same way we are warned not to stuff our faces with too much chocolate cake, there’s such a thing as too much social media activity. Easier said than done, right?
It’s time to train your mind and get on a social media diet! Here are some useful tips to get you started:
Post without checking for notifications.
Share photos or tweets without checking to see if you’ve gotten likes or comments. Who needs the pressure of wondering whether our posts get any approval, right? Turn your notifications off! This will make a huge difference.
Block unwanted subscribers to your social media profile.
You might be feeling self-conscious due to unwanted followers (e.g. an ex, a boss or a family member). You are not obligated to allow them to see your social media activity — block ‘em! At the same time, you should also stop following anyone whose posts make you feel green with envy.
Install a new app to uplift your spirits.
During our lunch breaks, we often like to scroll through our social media activity and check out what everybody else is doing. It’s time to overhaul your routine. Instead, kill time with a new game, motivational message app, or something that will uplift your spirits and keep your mind right all day long.
Focus on the tangible.
Forget the virtual world for a moment! Immerse yourself in things that you can actually touch — a newspaper, magazine, or a book. Remember those? These will allow you to “keep up with times” while escaping from all the unnecessary distractions you’d find sprawled all over your news feed.
Enjoy an event or concert without needing to “share.”
It’s ironic how we all attend these spectacular live shows, but end up watching most of it on our tiny smartphone screens. Put down your device — soak up the harmonious energy of the crowd and rock out to the music.
If you dare, deactivate your accounts for a month.
Escape the confines of social media pressure and be free! You no longer have to wonder whether that photo your posted received enough likes, or ponder why your life isn’t as exciting as your favorite ‘Gram model. By doing this, you’ll find that you have so much more time to do positive things and that you really don’t need these brainwashing applications.
See, it’s not so bad! If anything, it is at least worth a try. Rescuing yourself from the dark side of social media can have a lot of positive effects on your life. Be the hero of your story and revive your sanity!
If you do decide to plug back into the land of make-believe, remember one thing: “Social media is an illusion…” – these words come from Essena O’Neil, a distraught former social media celebrity who successfully de-activated her Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr. It may seem unbelievable but keep in mind that she was once exactly where we are, addicted to and living by the standards of social media. If she can change her lifestyle, so can we!
Let the social media diet begin!