I'm writing this exactly 30 days after quitting all social platforms to share the 5 benefits of staying off social media. What has life without social media been like? I went on a week-long vacation to Italy with my family and I noticed how different the experience was without social media. I only pulled out my phone to click a picture when I wanted to capture something. I didn't click a single food picture. I have so few photos from this trip and it feels deeply satisfying. Because I wasn't clicking pictures to share and post
I have more time. Time has expanded. Without the daily, sometimes hourly, pressure to post and share and inspire, I choose how I spend my time. I enjoyed my time on social media up until the last couple of months and I will never, ever regret sharing of myself and my wisdom on those platforms. I connected with so many of you and you're dear to my heart. But there was a real time and energy investment.
I am accessing a deeper level of calm. I'm noticing how calm and clear my mind feels without the noise of social media. No videos to watch. No posts to read. No comments to respond to. No stories to create. I'm more available to my own thoughts and inner guidance these days and it feels expansive.
I am much more efficient. I get things done so much faster because I have a greater capacity to focus. I monotask instead of multitask.(Not that I was any good at multitasking anyway but my brain felt as if it was trying to do many things all at once). So I get my work done in a shorter amount of time because of deep focus.
I read for longer stretches of time. I've always been a voracious reader. But social media robbed me of my focus. I'd read a few pages, then feel the need to reach for my phone. These days, I'm reading for longer stretches without feeling the need to check what's going on in Instagram land. I finished an entire book on vacation (with all the museum visits!!) and have read close to a dozen books in the first quarter of 2023.
These are the 5 benefits of staying off social media. As time goes by, I'm sure I'll discover more.
My sleep is richer and deeper. Although I mostly used to cut out screen time a few hours before I went to bed, I didn't realize how all the information I consumed throughout the day affected my mind and had me keyed up. Without that tsunami of information, my mind feels like a calm lake when I turn out the lights. My sleep is deeper and I wake up feeling clear and slow inside.
Moving away from social media has triggered a keen interest in concepts like attention, focus, and how slowing down helps us feel better in our bodies. I've always favored a slow pace but I used to carry judgments about my slow pace in my 30's and 40's. Now I'm deeply grateful to discover that science supports this.
3 Misconceptions We Have About Scrolling Social Media:
1. "It relaxes me." I've heard folks say that at the end of a busy day they turn to their phone instead of a book because the scroll is more relaxing. Science says that surface-level stimulation steals our ability to focus and constant distraction makes us feel irritable, diminished, and vaguely depressed.
2. "It keeps me connected." Likes and hearts and text messages offer instant gratification. But in the long-term, people report feeling disconnected and disenchanted by the level of artifice in the engagement.
3. "It helps me learn from the experts." True, there's a lot of valuable content on these platforms. But the human brain is not a machine. It is not designed to absorb a tsunami of information. This habit of drinking from the firehose is affecting our attention and focus. The size and capacity of the human brain hasn't significantly changed in 40,000 years and it isn't going to upgrade anytime soon, says Earl Miller, Professor of Neuroscience at MIT. Trying to bust through your brain's ability to understand and process means you actually understand less of what you're taking in.
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