Good day to all you lovely people out there and welcome to Illuminare. I hope you are managing this week to kick anxiety in the butt! Today I am continuing on from a series I introduced this Tuesday called ‘Social Media Detox’! If you missed my last blog, you can catch up by clicking this link or simply scroll to my previous post. Like all of my writing, I am brutally honest in this series so if my content stirs something up inside of you, maybe you need to look at yourself and ask why and what it is that makes you feel that way. I am not a perfect human or in fact a perfect example of Social Media Detoxing. However, I wanted to address the topic to not only help you guys, but also help myself! As I write, I learn and therefore I grow. I hope you all enjoy this series and take something away from it. I have learned a lot about myself and am very excited to see what it does in your lives too. So let’s get down to it…
Identify where your stress comes from
Identifying where our stress comes from can be tricky. It can take us some time to experience a revelation but trust me, if you can’t point it out, it will eventually point its ugly self out to you! One day I realised I was a lot crankier than usual. I was irritable and very easily set off by the littlest of things. While feeling like this, I didn’t see myself and it wasn’t until I started crying that I noticed there was simply too much going on and my head-space was very foggy.
That evening I opened Facebook, as you do these days to ‘wind down’, and I came across numerous content that just made me feel very unsettled. There were quotes about how we can’t trust each other, people cheating, friends back biting, and all other sorts of carrying on. Quotes of being independent and not needing other people. Photos of guys and girls completely altered by filters or posing with their designer gear acting as though life is peachy, while in the next breath or in this case, next post, they were body shaming celebrities! Photos of couples being on cloud 9 (which is wonderful) yet they pursue other love interests with their comments, tags, DM’s and simply by cheating with their eyes; ogling another’s photos. There were photos of animals that were abused horrifically by ‘humans’, stories of women and children (sometimes men too!) being abused in their homes and photos of their bruised and bloodied faces/bodies. What shook me the most was that this was just the mild stuff…
*SIGN OUT AND SWITCH OFF* – that was it I had had enough. Stress inducer identified!
The matter of the fact is, that all of these images whether we stop to look at them or continue scrolling past them, the mere glimpse we get creates a chemical reaction within our brains that we may not recognise straight away, but feel the effects of as time passes by. Our brain releases chemicals for both good and bad things, depending on your perception of what you are witnessing or experiencing. Using the example of social media content, the same chemical is released again and again when you see the image/video/status etc creating a grander reaction each time. Bigger chemical reaction equals deeper emotional affect!
While I am not a scientist nor a psychologist, learning about the brain, its reactions and chemicals it releases has become of great interest to me over the last six months. As humans we are likely to have some stress in our lives which is completely natural, however, becoming sensitised to it is something I want to reverse, avoid and eliminate!
Continuing from that faithful evening, I received a message a couple of weeks after signing out from a friend who was pretty peeved that I had not responded to a request they sent me on Facebook. Now besides the fact that you can see when the last time someone was online, I had informed close friends and family that I was taking a little break and was only contactable via WhatsApp or an actual phone call. After explaining the situation, apologising and still being treated how I was afterwards, this was the moment I realised that Social Media was affecting my mental health in a very detrimental way. It was then that I decided, you know what, not only am I signing out, I’m deleting it all. This crap just isn’t worth it.
I identified a chronic stress inducer and realised that the many natural stresses going on in the background were being piled onto a dormant volcano, and the stress from Social Media was the tipping point to make it all go KABOOM! I needed to make a change, I needed a break and so I deleted everything. Just like that. Gone. And in an instant, my mood had already begun to improve…
My challenge to you all today is to reduce your usage of social media over the next few days. Try to meet friends over the weekend in physical form instead of just catching up over messenger. Go for a walk by the beach, or take time to read instead of staring into the endless dramas of our generation. Have a wonderful weekend instead of just a usual one, do something different, do something out of your comfort zone, do something challenging and exciting!