Benefits of a social media detox

Calasandra Spray (TheLorian)

With the world separated by social distancing, social media can be a way to stay connected. However, seeing what people are posting, and interacting with them through hearts, likes, or quick comments is not the same as interacting face to face, or even with a phone call. According to Broadband Search the average person worldwide spends 144 minutes a day on social media, adding up to two-point-four hours a day and six years and eight months over a lifetime. While some people spend much less time and others much more time on social media having a break from the constraint stream of information can have many benefits. 

One benefit can be a raise in self-esteem by breaking the social comparison cycle. When you’re scrolling through social media, often times you’re comparing yourself to those you know, and those that you don’t. This comparison is unfairly weighted though, because on your side of the screen you see all the things in your life good and bad. On the other side of the screen, that person gets to filter what they’re showing the world and more often than not it’s only the good, fun, inspiring things that are happening in their lives. By detoxing from social media, you can gain a better picture of yourself because you spend the time paying attention to you and not others. 

On that note, you won’t feel so competitive after a detox. The marketable strategies of social media are to get people to like your content, whether that be photos on Instagram, witty retorts on Twitter or cool videos on TikTok. In order to gain these likes, which our brains process as social approval, we have to be better than other users at gaining attention. This creates a competitive drive, upon which if you lose you’ll feel worse about yourself.

Detoxing can reduce your fear of missing out, and some resulting anxiety or depression. Scrolling through everyone’s feeds, seeing their vacation photos, cute pets, and hang out sessions can make you feel left out. Unplugging can help you to learn how to enjoy quiet time where your brain isn’t under a constant assault of information. 

Reconnecting with friends and family is another benefit. When you can no longer view what’s happening in their lives from your cell phone, you may be more inclined to contact your friends and family to have in-depth conversations. Seeing that they are living their lives from your phone screen can make it feel like you’re a part of their experiences and that you know what’s happening. However, as mentioned when you compare yourself to peoples chosen images of themselves, seeing and “interacting” with friends and family over social media is not as connective as giving them a call or text. 

Best of all, free time! When you detox from social media, the 144 minutes on average you would be spending scrolling can be spent relaxing, discovering hobbies, and reconnecting with loved ones. With all this free time, you can pick up some new healthy habits, like walking, yoga, meditation, or journaling.

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