Free Spirit

Free Spirit

One of the best things I have done this year so far is limit my social media intake. I do not have an issue with social media at all and think when it is used properly, it serves as a wonderful medium to keep in touch and explore other people's perspectives in a quick and digestible format. The downside is when it becomes such a constant presence in our lives we are unable to enjoy life without snapping or projecting it live to some mildly entertained audience. In my own life, this had become a problem.

I would get on social media first thing every morning. Forget praying, working out, shaking out the cobwebs, first thing I did was get on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook. It was my morning coffee. I started to notice how subconsciously it was affecting me. At its root, social media is pretty much worrying about another motherfucker's life while not focusing on yours. It is not dramatically different from television or film, but it’s different because the main characters are people we know. Thus, we fall into more comparing of our lives then we would a celebrity, simply because these are people we are friends with and know. Scrolling for too long saw me yearning for shit I didn't need or stuff I really didn't want. Someone else's reality was on their page and slowly that started to bother me. Really, it's a snippet of their life with a witty caption. But more often than not, we take those pictures as a greater truth and it sometimes works its way mentally to throw us off and compare or even look inwards at our own lives comparing our successes or failures. It’s natural and works the same way TV does or anything you absorb and consume for long stretches. It’s a subtle brainwashing. For me, I wasn’t envious per se of someone else, I just noticed I spent a lot of time thinking about someone not me and wasting energy on something other than growing myself.

This led me to develop a personal social media policy. One major factor in my social media policy is to not have anything on my phone. I deleted IG, Snap, FB, Blackplanet, Groupme, Myspace, Christian Mingle all off of my phone. That helps dull the temptation to check on it since it isn't readily available. This also helps because my office building does not have wifi so during the day I would have to be fiending very badly to check on someone to actually re- download the app and more importantly use up precious data just to check.When I do post something, I institute the one hour check rule. If I post a status or a picture or whatever, I look at it for an hour, check for comments, likes, what not, then delete the app off my phone. So if I post a picture at noon, by 1pm, I delete it off my phone (the app that is).  At night, I’ll download IG or Snap, check on anything new then delete it back off. It’s been the best middle ground to both keep an eye out for anything going on, while not getting too inundated with scrolling. I’m a little more lax on the weekends, but even then I try not to fall into too big of a binge. Mentally, I’ve noticed the differences almost instantly. Automatically, I’m more worried about my own well being and taking my own temperature and making sure thats a priority. I don’t miss it really and happily go about my day, blissfully unaware of any pics, slander, whatever might pop up on a timeline. Besides, enough people text me throughout the day with whatever new meme or challenge is up so I’m never fully out of the loop.

Hopefully someone will find this useful and try to incorporate it into their daily life. If not, then I typed 600 words for nothing (just kidding). Either way, it's a little tip I’ve found that has made my mental well being a lot better.

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