How to Detox from Social Media and Why

I am two weeks social media free!
Where is my chip? Where is the support group and free cookie? Wait-this isn’t a meeting for Social Media Addicts Anonymous? Oh. Oh well! I am relieved to make it this far. I am three weeks without Instagram and Snapchat. I am two weeks without Facebook. My detox started as a solution to anxiety, which spiked the week before my first exam in my masters program. The stress of an upcoming test had me subconsciously checking Facebook more obsessively than usual.

I signed out of my accounts. I deleted the applications. I vowed to spend my time focusing on school or engaging in something real. Things like studying, reading, socializing in person, etc. Last week I aced my midterms. I have read, from start to finish, 2 books. I responded to every text message from friends, family and strangers. I made my bed everyday. I stayed committed to my fitness regimen. I reply to e-mails. I take 5 minutes to meditate every day. I mailed two packages that were supposed to be sent during Christmas. I am discovering that I have plenty of time for those things I thought I was too busy for.

I confess that I still have inklings to type ‘facebook.com’. But I don’t miss anything about it. I thought I would miss seeing updates from my close friends and family who live out of state. But instead, when my friend is telling me about her weekend, I tell her to send me pictures. It’s ten times more gratifying this way.

I thought Facebook was a source for inspirational articles. Between my kindle and theory textbooks, I am in no short supply of inspiration these days. I am less vulnerable to fake news. I stay up to date by reading the Associated Press and I form my own opinion. I’m no longer irked by my high school cohort who have yet to leave town. Nor am I bombarded with advertisements that convince me I need more to be happy.

One concern about the overuse of online social media is that it reduces the quality of in person socializing. Think of the times you go to a friends apartment before a night out, and look around and see eyes glued to cell phones. I call that low quality socializing. Researchers are finding that multitasking with social media is a risk factor for social anxiety and depression  (Beck,Stephenson J. 2017). Flipping between Twitter and Facebook then watching a video on Youtube may be putting you at risk too.

I don’t see a reason to go back. I am enjoying my detox and eager to see how far it takes me.

Here is a quick guide to detoxing from Social Media:

Step 1: On Facebook, go to Settings -> security -> deactivate.
Note: if you link your Spotify account to FB, you will have to log back in. My work-around is to log off immediately, delete the bookmark, and with super human strength avoid typing the website URL.

Step 2: Delete instagram, snapchat, twitter or anything absorbing your free time.
This frees your time AND your phone space!

Step 3: Engage with others
Meet up with friends; in my case weekly study dates with one of my best friends. I planned a trip to see another best friend who lives out of state.
Meet up with family; I bought tickets to a basketball game for a double date with my brother. I’ve never been, and now that I am social media free, it seems that I have more time I guess!

Step 4: Engage with self
Write, read, exercise, cook, revisit old hobbies. This is my favorite part.

And never look back. Except to remind yourself how good it feels to be social media free.


Reference:

Beck, S. J., Paskewitz, E. A., Anderson, W. A., Bourdeaux, R., & Currie-Mueller, J. (2017). The task and relational dimensions of online social support. Health Communication, 32(3), 347-355. doi:10.1080/10410236.2016.1138383

Flow Searching: A Concept in Mindfulness

Scrolling through the digital kindle store, I picked the book titled ‘The Happiness Hypothesis’. A book that links ancient philosophy with contemporary psychology. At the time, I wasn’t searching for the key to happiness. Or maybe I was. But any topic on well-being is an immediate interest of mine.

What stuck with me was the concept of ‘Flow’. Flow is when you are immersed in a skill. In other words, you are “in the zone”. A skillful activity could be a hobby, craft, art, or chores. Anything. When people ‘flow’, they are engaged.

It is no surprise that ‘flow’ is associated with happiness. Being engaged is synonymous to mindfulness. Now imagine being mindful while accomplishing something skillful. Mindflow, if you will- a dopamine explosion occurs. The mind craves these experiences.
Since learning about flow, I have been on a hunt for my dopamine trigger. When am I immersed in something skillful? This started my journey into flow searching (the new soul searching). I traced recent memories to think of a time which I felt happy and challenged. The first thing that came to mind was the same reason I started this blog.

It starts out how most blogs begin. I felt drained at my job. I dreaded going to work. I wondered if it was a phase, or time for a new job. But then, like the sun breaking through the clouds, I was enlightened. I stepped out of my patients room as I usually do. But this time, I felt refreshed. I felt content in my career choice. All I did was teach a young man about his new type 1 diabetes. I talked to him and his parents for an hour, answering their questions with precision. I was confident. I felt knowledgeable. In the end, my patient did too. I discovered my Flow before I had known what flow was. I was engaged again and reminded of my love for nursing.

That is why I am here. Patient teaching is my flow. I am flow searching through writing. Even just writing this article has my dopamine receptors tingling. My flow searching journey continues as I develop my blog further, connect with the community and teach others.