Unplugging From Social Media and My Mental Health

Joseph Meyer

Times are tough as much of the world struggles with the effects of COVID, lock downs, unemployment, death, media and politics. Boy that is a mouthful of what is happening in our world and I like many of you have been affected. For one month now I have made a dedicated effort to withdraw from social media especially Twitter, which is my media of choice, unfortunately I have not kicked the news habit. I donā€™t necessarily watch news on Television, but I read mostly articles which in my opinion have a less addictive affect, but an affect, nonetheless.

The effect of Social Media and Mental Health

For many who have read my pieces many known I have suffered with depression over the years sometimes itā€™s can take hold of my emotions and my self-worth. My little experiment away from social media allowed me to realize what affect it had on my mind, my feelings and my psychology and even having watched the recent documentary the Social Dilemma on Netflix.

Over the course of a year when I really started to see changes in my behavior I grew angry, my moods changed, I would constantly check my twitter account for likes, feeds, new posts and so it went on and I was soon becoming unproductive at work as my focus was on my phone and social media.

I saw myself slowly slipping back into my old frame of thinking which involved a constant comparison of where my life was at to those who appeared to have a bigger life, bigger house, nicer car , more friends and it goes on which seems pretty clichƩ right but that is why I had to stop.

As someone who is over forty I should no better as a generation who did not grow up with social media, I grew up with Nintendo and being outside and I get this is a new generation of information and it will continue to be so with introductions of new technology to get our attention, but I have realized the damage it could do.

Back to Basics

I have made the conscience decision to refocus on reading, my writing and podcasting which has directed my attention in a different way. I think its so important to get back to basics although I know many will not just unplug but I recommend it and you be the judge for yourself.

Reading

Reading is by far one of the most relaxing hobbies I love doing daily, taking my mind off of the troubles in our world and losing myself in a good book. Currently I am reading the classic George Orwell 1984 or Nineteen Eighty Four.

See the source image

Podcasting

This is still fairly new to me having a total of 16 episodes so far allow me to speak my mind, thoughts talking about issues in my own life, politics, movies, book and a variety of other topics. If you have never podcast give a try its quick and easy.

Writing

My love of writing as you can see is something I can not give up, I prefer to write anytime, putting my thoughts on paper in my blog and letting loose in the world of writing. I encourage everyone to write, pick up journaling and see how much you learn about yourself.

The other side of the join is my need for knowledge which is why I am glued to my news feed but I have slowly seen that news feed is not helping me because many times itsĀ  just opinions and like any media attempts to sway us to lean a certain direction and many times are not factual.

Add on to the fact that in the United States we are in a election year which is bombarded with articles on every kind of political candidate you can think of with the accompanying polls on their favorability of winning the election and so on. I am so tired as I never felt I would feel so powerless but I guess that is one of the points to many things that cause many to be addicted, its hard to kick but once you do you can be free.

I know for some reading this you may say well I use social media and those things do happen to me, I have a healthy relationship with Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to name a few. If you can have a good relationship with these sites good for you, you are truly one of the few who donā€™t let it rule you. Being someone who is susceptible to manic depression, anxiety and other social phobias maybe social media is not the best thing for me, but I really had to ask the question do I really need it or does it need me and I have concluded social media needs us, needs our input, our data, our feed to get it going which billions are happy to provide.

Remember What is Important

If you have gotten to this point you may be wondering what is the point of this piece and ultimately during these incredible difficult times we must remember what is important, those people in our life who are important, those relationships and those good things that help keep our minds, body and spirit healthy.

For many who are young who were born in the cusp of social media and who are full fledged users that is what they know compared to my generation who grew up late with these devices so I truly believe we have the ability to love or leave it and deciding if it does more good than bad in our lives, a choice we have to make on our own.

The other part of who I am is someone who just can not turn my brain off, I can not stop thinking of the what, if , when questions especially when it comes to our society and the direction we are going due to how social media has affected our society. Do you see the difference even ten years ago? Do you like what you see? Are you adding to the betterment of society when you login to social media?

These are all questions we need to ask ourselves. Remember do not let life pass you by glued to your phone, focused on the lives of others who mean nothing, human connection is what we need to go back to but can we?

Let’s Connect Like We Are Meant To

During these times we are in a crisis as human beings, as a society and when common sense and logic says we should be working together in society for the betterment as a whole not sitting on our phones thinking a like, a follow is going to make a difference it will not.

Letā€™s do better, we can do better. I am not saying social media is the enemy what I am saying is that there is a cause and effect to its use and discovering each day what makes you happy and following that will ultimately pay dividends in ways you can only imagine.

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