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  • Darshana Ananth

Social Media Becoming A Toxic Lifestyle

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

You just wake up from a good night’s sleep and what’s the first thing that you do next? Do you do some stretches in bed or go straight to brushing your teeth or do you reach for your phone first thing in the morning? I’m pretty sure we all have our answers right there.

I don’t want to get too much into how addicted and dependant we have become on this compact digital device, be it waking up with its alarm, setting reminders, gaming or mindlessly scrolling through social apps.

As humans, we are hard-wired to seek connections with other people to feel worthy and loved. No matter how much we argue that this isn’t the case, we all seek a connection of some form that gives us a sense of belonging.

Social media is one of the resources that serve the purpose of connecting people from anywhere in the world. Just with a few clicks, you can see what your friends are up to and where your favorite celebrity is vacationing.

While it is all fun and games with networking apps like Instagram and Facebook, we fail to see the long-term unhealthy conditioning it is promoting these days.

Make sure you’re happy in real life, not just on social media.

Millions have joined social media platforms compared to when it was just starting out and the numbers have grown consistently since. The upside to this is that it is a very convenient way to connect with friends or like-minded people and also find inspiration.

The downside here is that most of these platforms have become a place where people have started trends that don’t really portray reality. It gets people into believing that looking a certain way or doing the so-called cool stuff is what it takes to having a perfect life when such things are mere opinions of people who you don’t even know.

When young minds are supposed to be exploring their values and making mistakes until they learn the right thing, they’re instead scrolling through Instagram to check on trends and compare their already beautiful minds and bodies to some baseless standard set by a social icon.

Social media is seriously affecting your mental well-being.

I hope we are all aware of the fact that the content on social apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have had their fair share of contributions to mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and mental stress. This is because people have started seeking validation by craving likes and comments on their posts rather than real-life human connections.

Comparison mentality is common on such platforms getting people to think they are just not enough. If you’re doing something just for the sake of posting about it online, you are actively seeking validation from others.

You’re literally offering your worthiness meter on a platter for them to rate. This can get really addictive if you continue to seek external validation. The networking apps are deliberately engineered to be addictive with notification dings for every action taken in the app and we end up in a loop.

You don’t have to post it to prove it.

What we fail to realize is that the things that people choose to put out are often just their good side and success stories which are just a facade of their reality. Also, there are people who just do stuff for the sake of likes which goes along with the ‘Fake it till you make it’ trend. So, not everything that you see online is true.

I recently read somewhere that ‘The grass always looks greener on the other side because it’s fake’ and oftentimes, this is the truth. Yes, there are people who do make a living out of this and it is their job. They literally get paid for promoting things and brands even if it doesn’t align with their choices. It often tricks you into thinking that their lives are perfect based on a single post on their account and what does that do to you? You sink into your misery hole.

You can make it out alive.

Moderation is the key to maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle. This applies to social media as well. Taking in stuff in moderation is a habit that we must cultivate.

I’m not asking you to get rid of your social accounts but rather to limit your time and invest in better things. We are tempted to check our phones in the fear of missing out on something. This usually stems from a place of lack where you feel you need to know everything that’s happening in order to stay relevant.

This is a misconception and I can assure you that there are way more important things that need your attention. Just think of all the things you’d be doing if you didn’t have a social account or even better if you didn’t own a phone. Go on, take a minute and reflect.

Let’s take a holistic approach and treat the roots of the problem.
  1. Make a note of the amount of time spent on your phone, especially on your social accounts. Ask yourself, ‘is this having a detrimental effect on my self-image?’. If yes, try reducing the time spent on these apps gradually by engaging with real-life connections instead.

  2. It’s best to turn off notifications for apps like Instagram and Facebook, this will curb your need to check from time to time. You convince yourself that you’re just checking for a moment but end up scrolling for hours.

  3. When you have the constant urge to check your phone, try replacing it with something that you wanted to do but procrastinated because you were too busy on your phone. Talk to your friends and family which is the actual connection you need to feel loved and valued.

  4. Just uninstall apps that don’t bring you value or joy. Anything that makes you question your worthiness is not worth it at all. Just Konmari your way through the digital clutter.

  5. Slowly but surely, take baby steps into changing your perspective that social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Tik-Tok are just a form of entertainment and not the deciding factor of your worth in life.

Disconnect to reconnect.

Personally, I’ve been on and off social media, and to be honest, I feel much better and productive without it. So many things to worry about and how perfect or cool you look online should be your least concern unless you’re an online content creator who wants to leave a positive impact on the world.

In the beginning, I did have the urge to scroll through my social feeds curious to know what was happening but later I realized it isn’t really my business if it doesn’t add much value to what I stand for. I’m still staying very much in touch with the important people in my life and that’s all that matters to me. Offline is truly the new luxury. Take care.

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