This is a Public Service Announcement: Social Media is ruining your life.
Science says it is making us lonely and depressed.
The day has come.
You and I know it well.
Perhaps you are going through it right now.
Somewhere a voice inside of you is whispering it’s time.
You are tired of the endless scrolling through perfect photos of pretty places, happy smiles, motivational quotes, emotional anecdotes.
But yet something keeps you coming back.
This sick urge you fight but yet can’t quite give up yet.
Every morning before you do anything else you grab your phone and immediately without even thinking check your notifications.
How many likes did I get?
Did I get any new followers?
Maybe you troll your ex’s account.
Maybe you troll Cardi B’s instagram for your daily dose of raunchy entertainment (personally guilty).
Whatever it is, it’s got you in this mindless trance.
And yet you know intuitively this just doesn’t feel right.
It’s nagging at you.
You say it out loud.
“I just need a break from social media.”
Social media increases loneliness and depression.
What is it about Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that keeps us coming back for more yet truly never fills up our cup of happiness?
According to science, using social media can increase loneliness and depression.
In a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, psychologist Melissa G. Hunt shared in her findings that:
“Some of the existing literature on social media suggests there’s an enormous amount of social comparison that happens. When you look at other people’s lives…it’s easy to conclude that everyone else’s life is cooler or better than yours.”
When we get caught up in social comparison we can start to feel envious to the point where we just need a break.
Yet there is a strange irony of it making us feel less lonely for a just a little bit and then utterly lonely in the end.
Our FOMO with social media is ruining our lives.
Social media awakens this beast of FOMO or fear of missing out.
Our conversations are interrupted by our impulsive need to check our notifications while we are out to eat, at family gatherings, at the movies or even having an intimate conversation with a loved one.
It is this constant interruption in the present.
We don’t value or take our human connections with each other so seriously.
What do we miss when we are using our phones instead of being with the people we love 100%?
How many lives do we put in danger by checking our phones while driving?
Are we avoiding the reality of our lives by escaping through our virtual worlds?
Put your phone down and be here now.
Hunt shared in her study that by lessening our opportunities for social comparison we can spend more time focusing on things that make us feel better about our lives.
Social media isn’t going to disappear.
We just get to build a healthy and balanced relationship to our social media lives.
For me I am realizing that as I take space from the beast I am learning how to tame it.
I am less anxious about checking my social media accounts.
I am living more in the present and less focused on comparing myself to the next best writer, mother, human.
I am building relationships with people offline and getting involved in my community.
“In general, I would say, put your phone down and be with the people in your life”, Hunt says.
Get out of your virtual world and start living in the real one.
Is there a way we can find balance from our social media accounts?
Perhaps there is a way for us to slowly end our cycle of breaking up with social media and coming back to it.
One app is doing just that.
The Moment app helps us track our phone usage without us even realizing it.
With simple strategies the app offers people are gaining more time back in their lives and living in the moment.
If it takes accountability through an app for us to have a mindful practice of living on and offline so be it.
The virtual world is still going to be doing it’s thing.
Set micro-goals of what you want to accomplish in the time you take away from social media.
Read 1 page of a book?
Go outside for a few minutes?
Take that yoga class you’ve been saying you want to go to?
Fill up your cup of happiness because social media scientifically isn’t.
Let’s get back to what our life was before social media interrupted.