By Toby Lane
Imagine consciously making the decision to eliminate your social media usage for a week. How about a month? The thought of waking up to no email or instagram notifications. Consequently bringing forth that fidgety, nervous feeling that everything isn’t right. Something is missing! But does it have to be like this. Our attachment to our beloved devices has become a source of dubious debate. Our incessant usage of social media, anytime and at any place has bordered the line of addiction. Unfortunately, life beyond that line is not admirable and has led to Problematic social media use. Social media addiction is a real thing, and though it may be socially acceptable, it can have a significant negative impact on the quality of your life. Here are reasons more and more Kenyans are opting for a social media detox.
1. Social Media and its Effects on Your Mental Health
Multiple studies and research have uncovered a solid connection between heavy social media usage and and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts.The number of people using the internet in Kenya has surged over the past year, with more than one million people coming online for the first time each day since January 2018. We live in a culture that heavily glorifies high value and equates it to perfect pictures and perfect lives, however we all have certain triggers that can cause our confidence to take a sudden nosedive. Sadly, social media provides us with numerous platforms that help to quickly trigger that unpleasant self-disdain.
Additionally social media only serves to highlight the best aspects of people’s lives. We compare that to our own, loving ourselves a little less. That feeling of dissatisfaction keeps us up at night and gloom and tension circle our thoughts. You have nothing to gain in your comparison but anxiety, the feeling of inadequacy about your life or appearance and an unhealthy self-centeredness clearly distancing you from real-life connections.
Allow yourself time to connect with others offline and live life in the moment, just 30 minutes of a social media detox. The difference will be worth the effort.
2. Get Better Sleep
Admit it, scrolling through twitter or facebook right before bedtime might come off as a delight. Those last minute replies, heated group chats and video chats cozied up in bed. This has become a somewhat pre-sleep ritual and waiting till morning seems like too much of a stretch.
The reality however is this constant connectivity can have major negative effects on our sleep. The moment we put our phone down to get that much deserved shut eye we realize we aren’t sleepy anymore. Our futile efforts characterized by fervent tossing and turning do nothing to change the situation. Here’s the science behind it. Mobile phones mostly emit blue light, and these frequencies are especially acceptable at keeping us productive and focused, so completely appropriate for daytime phone screen use.
At night-time, however, this is not ideal. At its simplest, exposure to light tells us to be awake, so looking at a bright light from a phone just before bed is telling your body it is still time to be awake and not sleep time.In the hours leading up to bedtime, as natural light levels decrease, our brains start to produce a hormone called melatonin, which causes our alertness to begin to dip. It signals to our bodies to wind down and prepare for sleep.
The blue light produced by cell phones influences your melatonin levels more than some other wavelength does. It signals to your cerebrum that it is sunshine, melatonin creation is stifled and rest becomes delayed.Without melatonin indicating to us that we are drowsy, we stay conscious and alert, in a condition of ‘cognitive arousal’.
So next time when intending to enjoy a good night’s rest, Don’t take your phone with you, you deserve that social media detox.
“A night without dreams is like a cupcake without frosting.” – Anonymous
3. Better Physical Health
A sedentary lifestyle characterized by long periods of time spent sitting at your computer or on your phone can have overall negative effects on your physical health. Taking time off online interactions to exercise is crucial in maintaining a balance. Averse effects of heavy social media use on physical health can manifest in the form of fatigue, eye problems and distractions. A potential consequence of social media addiction is driving or cooking while distracted.
One of the lures of social media interaction is instant connectivity all around the world, but a 30 minute break off social media to exercise could lead to a boost in mood and trigger a positive feeling. This is by release of endorphins during exercise that interact with receptors in your brain to reduce the perception of pain.
Live, Laugh, Love
Enjoy the moment. Be present, mindful of this point in time and experience increased peace and joy, and less stress and anxiety. A social media detox could just be what you need.
Live in the Now.
Enjoy each Experience