Social media is incredibly addictive, and when I learned about the negative effects it has on our brains, it was a simple decision to limit the amount of time I spent on there.
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Technology has drastically changed the way business is done, opening doors to the creatives, go-getters and change makers of the world. However, as we all know, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So, with just about every positive, there comes a negative, and in regard to technology, it’s important to look at both sides of the coin.
While running a remote business that operates predominantly through social media, I often find myself spending far more time on these applications than I’d like. Often, it’s unavoidable, but sometimes it’s a necessity. The biggest problem I find that comes with this is falling into the trap of exactly how the platforms were engineered, which is to take up as much of our time and attention as possible.
Thankfully, through daily disciplines I’ve incorporated in my day-to-day routine over the years, I have developed a reasonable level of self-awareness. Even so, I struggle with social media’s pull a lot of the time, but fortunately, I am self-aware enough to know when I really need a break.
What many of us don’t realize is that our social media use has become a habit, and often, a bad one. I know that every time I open my phone, I almost always go to click and open either Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. Repetition is the most powerful force on the subconscious mind, and every time we click the app, we are training our mind to continue doing so.
Even though I have all my notifications turned off, I am constantly drawn to social media. My solution? Delete the apps off my phone when I can or need to focus. Here’s why:
1. It helps me unwind
It can be incredibly difficult to switch off and unwind, and the handheld supercomputer that never leaves our side doesn’t make that any easier. Nearly everything is being engineered to distract us, and I believe it is our duty to have the discipline and awareness to not let it take control of us. Perhaps my favorite part of my weekly routine is spending my Sunday afternoon at the beach — without social media, that is. Forget selfies at the beach and a panoramic shot of the water to post on my story, I want to forget about the outside world altogether. In my own experience, I never feel like I can truly unwind unless I either delete social media apps off my phone or leave my phone at home altogether, in order to avoid the temptations of aimless scrolling.
2. It’s a dopamine detox
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter & feel-good chemical produced by the brain, which is triggered by events that make us feel good — sex, drugs, alcohol and, you guessed it, social media. With our eyes constantly glued to our phones, it’s almost as if we are connected to an IV supply of dopamine, 24/7. Addiction is known to re-wire the brain, which in turn makes us crave more and more the next time in order to elicit the same feeling or response. In this case, we are constantly seeking more and more dopamine, resulting in more time spent scrolling.
Some of the simplest and most effective ways to dopamine detox are avoiding sugary/fatty foods, video games, television and social media. Dopamine detoxes are an effective way to break addictive cycles and give your brain a break from the ridiculous levels of dopamine we receive dailyy.
3. It boosts mental clarity and focus
Personally, I need total clarity over a task in order to complete it efficiently and effectively: the fewer distractions, the better. When I don’t have social media apps on my phone, I am highly unlikely to check them. I say this as I sit here writing this paragraph, locked in and focused with my phone in the other room. Removing destractions won’t just improve your business productivity, but also your personal life and relationships (trust me, your partner will thank you).
If you find yourself constantly checking your phone and social media apps, delete them for a while. Whether it’s for a day or a week or a month, give it a try, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how you feel.