The way we communicate has been changed forever, thanks to social media. Whereas letters and telegrams took forever to reach their destinations, nowadays, a simple press of a button allows you to send a message instantly regardless of location.
We can’t deny the fact that social media brought a lot of benefits, particularly with regard to communicating with friends and loved ones. It has also broken language and continental barriers, allowing you to know what is happening around the world by just sitting in front of the monitor or by swiping the screen of your mobile phone.
However, being online too much can be quite dangerous, and may affect your mood and your overall productivity.
I conducted a month-long experiment (on myself), and found out firsthand about the effects of abstaining from social media. Here’s what you’re in for:
You’ll Sleep Better and Longer
The simple act of turning off all digital devices and having the discipline not to use them by 8:30pm clears your mind and gives you more time to think before shutting your eyes.
As of now, it’s probably a habit to check your e-mails, your social networking news feeds, and play social games prior to turning in. Basically, social media makes your mind hungry for information – once you look into a story, you’ll be craving for more. You’ll probably end up losing sleep over funny cat videos your friends are laughing about, leaving you stressed, puffy eyed and unproductive the following morning despite heavy doses of caffeine.
Sleep is easy to attain if you don’t have to check your smart phone every five minutes, leaving you well-rested. Remember how easy it was to sleep at night before the age of Facebook and Twitter?
You’ll Be Able to Think More
Browsing social media takes a lot out of your time: before you know it, you’ve spent the last hour and a half flicking your thumb across the screen. It’s also time spent unproductively: your mind is wandering elsewhere, when you’re better off thinking about what you’re doing with your life.
That being said, abstaining from social media gives you more time to meditate and clear your mind. By investing your time in thinking, it gives you the opportunity to reflect on the events that transpired in your life, as well as the chance to plan and get ready for tomorrow. In my case, it helped me realize that I had lost my ambitions, and helped me formulate another set of goals.
More Time to Read
Sadly, social media deprived me of my reading habits – something you can relate to as well. Years ago, I used to sleep at three in the morning just by reading Harry Potter books, Japanese comics and Reader’s Digest magazines…and I daresay times were better back then.
When I did this experiment, I found new reading obsessions – new adult fantasy novels, books about ancient history as well as law-related novels. If you were once a reader, ditch social media and engross yourself in the world written on paper and inscribed in ink, rather than deal with the petty squabbles on Facebook comments regarding provocative articles.
Immune from Negative Feelings
Back in January, I spent hours reading news articles and user comments regarding a particular issue. In my country, 44 policemen were slain by rebels, and it gained widespread fury across the nation. People, including me, were distraught, enraged and were in tears after knowing the fate of the gallant heroes who sacrificed themselves for the country. I shared the sentiments of my fellow countrymen: rage and sorrow merged into one.
By empathizing negative feelings, you leave yourself vulnerable to truckloads of trouble. Personally, I had a small breakout of acne, and was clearly unmotivated – all because I read and absorbed the negative feelings of the people in the comment sections. If I hadn’t read the stories and comments back then, I think I would have slept and worked better.
Remember though, ignorance is never a bliss, but the things you know can hurt you.
Lastly, You’ll Enjoy Life More
Instead of browsing pictures depicting breathtaking scenery, get off the keyboard and take a stroll around the neighborhood. Seeing the sunset, hearing children’s laughter and breathing fresh air is more enjoyable than looking at a phone screen…and gives you the chance to feel and enjoy being alive.
PS: Take note that you should only abstain from social media, not avoid it completely. You still need to network and share content – just limit the time you spend on the digital platforms and you’ll be experiencing the above mentioned benefits!
Mikhail Blacer is a sports junkie and the current sports editor of Scoopfed, an online magazine. He also works part time as a peer counselor in his locality. Strike up a conversation with him through his e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and via Twitter.