a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.“break free of your devices and go on a digital detox”
YES! It’s a thing! It may sound bizarre that anyone would need a digital detox, but social media can be quite addicting in the physiological sense of the word. It has been scientifically proven there is a relationship with production of dopamine and social media approval/interaction.
“Dopamine, Smartphones and You: A battle for your time” is a Harvard study conducted by Trevor Haynes who describes how likes from a social media post produces the same high as gambling or illicit drugs. Because we get a dopamine hit from the likes, it’s easy to see how we can get caught up in what’s called a feedback loop. Naturally we all want to do what feels good as much as possible.
And naturally, too much of anything is bad for you. You take too many vitamins (which are good for you) at one time, it could lead you to the ER getting your stomach pumped. So… everything *including use of social media should be used in moderation: but how much is too much!?!?! Let’s look at five signs you need a digital detox.
1. Constantly Story Watching
We all have an account we follow that encompasses the fabulous life. Whether it’s the ambiguously employed jet setting it girl wearing an outfit that costs the price of a brand new mid-sized sedan, the guy that looks like He-Man in the flesh posting his workouts or the inspirational yogi doing her Namaste thing at a temple in Bali. Shout out to to Kellie Paxian.
Living the life so vicariously that your own life is lackluster or you have stopped living your own life because you are watching these folks on daily on demand is dangerous because you may begin to compare your life to theirs which can lead you down a road to depression.
2. Upset When Someone Doesn’t Like Your Picture
Back in the day… It was MySpace’s Top 8 what was the demise of friendships!
If you constantly find yourself in a “stop walking and use both thumbs”type of text exchange over who is in a picture, or if you didn’t answer a phone call or text but liked or commented on someone’s post. It’s probably time to put your account on time out. It could be you were ignoring the person, OR it could also be you were so wrapped up in your social media you didn’t notice your real friends wanted to talk or hang out in real life. It sounds silly on paper, but just as people vied for the number 1 spot in the Myspace Top 8 back in the day… People are vying for those likes and that audience in the story. In any event, if your arguments are stemming from that direction, you may want to unplug before your real life relationships are compromised. P.S. I miss you Tom!
3. When You Are Reading Too Much Into Posts
Granted, many people do mistake social media as a personal diary proceeding to rant, rave, vent, air out dirty laundry and out others’ business. Perhaps that would build a good case as to why one would assume a meme or a post is some sort of indirect jab at them. However, if you find yourself scrolling through your timeline and landing on a meme that is generally funny but you cannot shake the feeling it was aimed at you: may be time to forfeit the virtual reality for actual reality and reconnect with your loved ones in person and in real time. You get no where fast with passive aggressiveness and spending too much time on web being passive aggressive is a breeding ground for all things negative and ultimately bring you down.
4. Excessive Scrolling and Posting
We all do it! Yes that’s true. However, if you are glued to your device during work/school hours, in the presence of family and friends or at the dinner table without coming up for air, that is a major indication that you go swept up in the feedback loop and you may have to bail on the social media until you get your bearings and are able to function in reality and virtual reality without neglecting your responsibilities and your loved ones. While social media has become an extension of our existence, you can gauge whether your use of social media is illicit by those who spend the most time with you. If you have gotten a verbal warning or written up at work because it,…well this one goes out to you. Detox… immediately!
5. Negative Feedback Loop Ruins Your Day
Some posts may be hits and some, not so much… but if a post falls below your like average, and you find yourself feeling the way you would feel if you got rejected by someone you have the hots for, then it is a very clear indication you need to take a break from it all and cultivate organic interactions for a few days.