6 Benefits Of Doing A Fast From Social Media

6 Benefits Of Doing A Fast From Social Media

Sometimes it doesn't love you back.

Most of us don’t know a life without the heavy presence of social media in our lives. This is a presence we have become intimate with and dependent upon. We’ve all heard older people (or the rare millennials who don’t to have an online profile) in our lives mourn the days when we used to connect over dinner without glancing down at our phones. I idealize those days too. However, the social media revolution has many benefits. The world becomes smaller every day, allowing people to connect and exchange ideas instantaneously and effortlessly. At the same time, the way social media spreads messages among masses of people, it also spreads individuals’ attention far too thin for healthy maintenance of authenticity, self-perception and mental health. Because of the constant use of sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., we are not always aware of the ways social exchanges in the digital universe can negatively affect our lifestyle. One of the best ways to be cognizant of the ways that social media is subtracting from quality of life is to go without it for a while.

Many people have noticed a dependence on their profiles and timelines for identity and entertainment, leading them to go on fasts from social media. Social media fasts allow people to, over a fixed period of time, center down and rediscover their individuality, focus, values and relationships without the lens of likes and shares. If you are on the fence about going on a social media fast, here are some reasons to consider making it happen:

1. Less Unhealthy Comparison

Studies show that people who spend large amounts of time scrolling on social media are more likely to suffer from depression. Ideally, an online community would make its users feel connected and cared for. However, some people tend to leave these sites feeling some combination of envy, loneliness, frustration or anger after comparing their lives and feeling socially inadequate compared to their peers. Taking a break from social media can help a person embrace a more realistic, optimistic view of themselves and others.

2. Better Sleep

Computer screens give off blue light, which can trick the body into thinking it is midday when, in reality, it is evening. Exposure to blue light causes the body to produce less melatonin, the sleep hormone. Adequate sleep is an extremely important component of health, and late-night browsing through the explore page of Instagram can cause a person to face difficulty when trying to fall asleep. If you are interested in improving your energy and getting restful sleep, a social media fast may be just for you.

3. Less Stress

Social media supplies an influx of information for the brain to process during what would normally be rest time. The several hour’s people normally spend on sites like Facebook demand time and energy for witnessing opinions, issues and conflicts that are irrelevant to the present time and place. Fasting from social media restores the traditional approach to free time for the duration of the fast, allowing a person to live in the moment and be undivided in their attentions.

4. More Meaningful Social Interaction

Now that people are able to portray their ideal selves on social media, they tend to lose out on real intimacy and accountability. People post all types of information about themselves online, allowing them to practice transparency without actually being vulnerable with others. Important research by TED Talk legend and research professor Brené Brown, suggests that the most integral need of the human race is human connection, which requires vulnerability and authenticity with others. We need these person-to-person connections to live a fulfilled life. For a generation accustomed to editing their images and revising their comments, connecting with people from a place of authenticity takes practice. Need a chance to practice? Social media fast.

5. Cultivating Self-Control

Odds are, the first thing you do after you wake up in the morning and cut off your smartphone alarm is check your social media accounts for updates. I’m also willing to argue that you find yourself throughout the day looking at old posts on Instagram, unable to remember opening the app in the first place. If you are accessing social media on autopilot, it may be a sign of dependency and, possibly, addiction. It’s likely that you also tend to divide the attention you should be giving your loved ones between them and your phone screen. Self-control is important when it comes to managing time well, to the effect of a successful life.

6. More Presence of Mind

The most powerful thing a person can be is present. Before communities became established on the internet in addition to the “real” world, people struggled to keep from focusing on the past and the future. Now, it’s so much more complicated. There is an entire alternative "present" taking place on the internet which is constantly competing with the here and now. Great novelist Leo Tolstoy said, “There is only one time that is important — NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time that we have any power.” Let's not give up our power. A social media fast is a good way to exercise personal power when pursuing social goals, creative endeavors, cultural experiences and other priceless ambitions.

Cover Image Credit: Photo credit: StockMonkeys.com via Foter.com / CC BY

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Loving An Addict: The End Of You And Me

I knew this would be how we would end, but I never thought it'd be so soon.

I've rewritten this a thousand times. It's been edited, and edited again. I can't seem to get it right. Maybe because I'm not ready.

Or, maybe it's because there's a part of me that'll never be ready to say we reached the end. Maybe, just maybe, there's a fraction of a possibility we haven't.

I posted this quote once, on Instagram: "One day, whether you are 14, 28, or 65 you will stumble upon someone who will start a fire in you that cannot die. However, the saddest, most awful truth you will ever come to find-- is they are not always with whom we spend our lives."

And you looked at me the next time I was at your house, busted my balls, and said, "I saw your Instagram post about me." You proceeded to recite the entire thing word for word. I laughed, because at the time I posted it, it wasn't about you, and you hadn't even been following my private account, so someone must have showed it to you. It wasn't about you at the time I posted it, but maybe it was always meant to be.

I went to Hawaii last week. And I can't tell you how many times I felt you there; on the tarmac as the plane landed, the sun dipping under the horizon. In the sunshine as I laid my head back, floating in the ocean. On the edge of a cemented outcropping of Diamond Head that's off limits. And most importantly, by my side-- on the beach, at Manoa Falls-- in some small piece of every adventure I had.

I tried to leave you in 2016. Yet you still managed to be the first kiss of 2017 the same way you were the last one of 2016. I never could shut you out or leave you, not really, no matter what you did to me. And I have some small comfort in the fact that I was your last kiss, even though you won't be mine. And that you never left me either, no matter what I did to you.

I wrote you a letter, last year, and told you some things. Things like you couldn't be in the cards for me; you couldn't even be in the same deck, because you'd always be an addict first and a husband second. That you'd have to fight those demons every day. That I'd never understand that craving, but I would feel that pain. And holy shit, do I feel that pain.

But I was wrong. I owed you more than that. And I am so sorry.

I tried to build you up with my words, but I still managed to tear you down with my actions. I was afraid of being hurt-- again-- and again, and again. So I tried to hurt you instead.

Two wrongs don't make a right, and in the end I think I started to realize that. I tried to turn it around for us; to accept you as you were.

But you told me that effort and trying wouldn't be enough for us. I guess you knew something I didn't. And maybe they wouldn't have been enough. Because as hard as I tried, I could never save you.

You knew my worst fear, babe. I told you a million times. Walking into work at the county morgue and seeing your name on that board. Picking up the phone and listening to some cop rattle off your name while I was expected to take the details, handle the call and your corpse. Waking up next to you dead in bed, stiff and foaming at the mouth.

And while I did wake up next to you, alive, on Saturday, it doesn't change the fact that you were still dead by Sunday. It happened a little differently than I imagined it, but my worst fear came true just the same. I still lost you. And in losing you, I still lost the future I vehemently denied wanting, in a feeble attempt to stave the pain. And guess what? I still feel all of that pain anyways. Part of me will feel all of that pain, for the rest of my life.

I'm not alone, in my grieving. You have parents, and sisters, and cousins; aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, friends. All of these people that loved you; they all tried to save you the only way they knew they could. None of it could have ever been enough.

You'll never be a husband, or a dad. You'll never meet your future nieces or nephews. You'll never breathe, ever again. You made me the person who's going to be thirty-two, standing at your grave.

And while we may move forward, love, we will never really move on. We'll never "get over" losing you; a brother, a son, a friend. Whatever you and me were.

We'll move forward, and keep spreading your legacy. Because everyone should know just how beautiful you truly were, inside and out. Because for all the pain you felt, and everything we went through, you were still the light in every room.

I'll forever miss your smile, and the way we'd be at each others' throats. The way you'd duck away, trying to hide your laugh and your smile when you didn't want me to know you thought what I said was funny. The way you'd hug me from behind the second I was within five feet of another guy. The way we used to fight. God, I love the way we used to fight. And I can't begin to express to you how unreal this still is to me.

We weren't dating. We weren't even together. We could go months without speaking and pick up where we left off without a hitch. We weren't everything, but we were something. You were my best friend, my biggest weakness, and a giant pain in my ass. You were my future, so long as you were breathing. I could do anything, be anyone, so long as there was hope for you and me in the end.

I don't know how to live in a world where you're not breathing. So far, I've hated every second of it. And I'm not the only one.

I told you that if you died, I died. Remember? And I did. The person that I was before I lost you, is buried in the ground beside you. Who I am now, is something I haven't entirely yet come to comprehend.

And now I'm left standing here, looking at all of the promises we made each other. Promises we never got the chance to fulfill. I knew that some day I'd lose you. That one day I'd wake up in a world where you'd ceased to exist. And still I prayed, I prayed that I'd be wrong. I hoped, until the very last day, that you'd turn it around for me, no matter how stupid that sounds.

But now I lay here in your shirt and I look through videos and pictures and the black cavern that sits in my chest aches at the edges, while grief sucker punches me in the gut and steals air from my lungs. You are so loved, bubby, by everyone who knew you.

I said at the beginning, that maybe there's a fraction of a possibility that this isn't the end, not really. On Earth, maybe. But I know in a sense you're still here; your presence. And even though this is the end of us down here, I know that someday you'll be waiting for me. And you'll say, "Let's go home," like you always did after a long night. And you'll be ready this time. And I'll be ready too. And then we'll begin again.

Cover Image Credit: Rachel Perna

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We Are As Free As We Choose To Be

Unchain your mind.

Isn’t it quite cynical to choose a life that wastes our fleeting days? Isn’t it painfully sad to have an overabundance of opportunities, yet we crawl into bed, unaccomplished, alone, and not where we want to be?

We say, “oh, tomorrow, it will be better.”

We say, “it won’t be like this for long.”

But what if your ways stay stagnant because you’re too reserved to move? You are running in place because you’ve chained yourself to a false reality that has kept you small and comfortable for far too long. It’s easier this way — I’ve said it all before too because at the time I didn’t realize, I was staring fear in the face and it looked like my friend.

As I watch and learn from those around me, I’ve seen it all too and my biggest take away will be that choosing comfort over growth is a fatal decision; it’s in the continuous belittling things we do that destroys our well-being, our consciousness, our integrity until we are morphed into someone who retreats at the idea of failure, rejection, and discomfort — until we morph into someone we are no longer proud of.

We are as free as we choose to be — as blessed and humbled as our minds dare grant us. We have all capabilities in the world to create a life we love and nourish our soul that radiates from the inside out. It should be a simple choice, although it may not always be the easiest because temptation is real and inclusion feels vital. Yet, how do you expect to always fit in if your soul is requiring you to be on another journey, a new path, uncharted territory?

When things go sour, relationships fall through, and opportunities turn a blind eye to us, those instances can be considered a prominent end or a flourishing beginning to start something new or try again. It’s quite special to have all this power inside of you, to be strong in your convictions, to know your worth; so why would you spend one more moment doubting your existence? Why would you spend one more moment pondering all the lost causes?

Why wouldn’t you spend every moment of your life loving deeper and living to the fullest?

There’s one thing I know for sure, I will continue to choose my freedom, without chains, burdens, and obligations because in being truly free, I will know my most true, authentic self.

Cover Image Credit: Ashley DeBoer

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