Quitting the Social Media Blues
You'll see lots of the same old New Year's resolutions on patch.com, a website featuring "an innovative way to find out about, and participate in, what's going on near around you."
A total of 37 percent of people responding to a site poll said they resolved to Eat Better, Exercise More, and Spend Less Money.
They’re also considering better Self-Care (24 percent), and want to Read More Books (18 percent), Learn a New Skill (15 percent), and Get A New Job (14 percent), among several others.
I know a growing number of folks who share a much nobler goal:
Wait. WHAT? Quit Facebook?
It’s not, according to several websites. And quitting will almost certainly give you your life back.
Excessively checking Facebook and other social media sites can literally rewire your brain, according to a 2011 study published in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed open-access scientific journal (see journals.plos.org). And surface-level brain matter appears to shrink as long as your online addiction continues.
Studies show that people who quit social media, take time off, or use it sparingly and wisely are much happier, according to lifeadvancer.com.
Those who avoided social media for just one week were in a better mood because they were present and aware, according to a study by the Happiness Research Institute, “an independent think tank focusing on well-being, happiness and quality of life” (see happinessresearchinstitute.com).
Other study findings listed on lifeadvancer:
• People who depended on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter for their news relied on them moreso than newspapers and TV – making them more insular and less open-minded, according to the Pew Research Center.
• Frequent use of social media results in poor psychological and cognitive functioning, according to researchers Hugues Sampasa-Kanyinga and Rosamund F. Lewis. A sampling of high school students in Ottawa showed that those who showed evidence of poor mental health were more likely to have used social media platforms.
• Findings published in the Guildford Press Periodicals showed links between frequent Facebook use and depression.
Meanwhile, many who jumped off the bandwagon just plain felt better. They had their privacy (Lord knows what we’re risking there) and their lives back.
You will feel more confident, you’ll be more present, you’ll escape the anxiety and negativity, and you’ll feel secure – no more needing to seek validation by posting your achievements and/or relationships, according to lifeadvancer.
That sounds right.
It sounds like a good step – though a hard one - toward better living. It’s like detoxifying, according to an author on jasondoesstuff.com, who quit social media for a month.
My friend Wendy made the break when all the political tumult became too much. She offered a humble goodbye from the Facebook ranks, like the classy lady she is.
The good thing is, I could just jump in the car and go see her in person (and get a big Wendy hug), or give her a phone call. Like regular folks.
Why text or post when you can see the real deal?
Time to tune the chaos out and get back to reading, playing guitar, and hiking. If only for a sweet little while.