Why It's Healthy To Take A Break From Social Media

Why It's Healthy To Take A Break From Social Media

It's healthy for people to be connected to the world, but psychologists say disconnecting from social media here and there can be even healthier.

I hate being obsessive—with myself, with other people and especially with material things like my phone and everything in it.

But somehow, even when I repress those subconscious obsessions, there still seems to be one thing that consistently triggers a strange obsessive nature, allowing it to resurface and make me anxious. In today’s society, of course that would be social media—it’s just so addicting.

It wasn’t until an absurd encounter I experienced the other day that I realized I need to chill with my obsessive nature of grabbing my phone. It's like I'm constantly trying to balance my schedule with opening apps, clicking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, checking my e-mails—all while carrying out tasks of everyday life. It’s unhealthy that sometimes I drive with my phone in my lap because I don’t want to miss a phone call or an e-mail, or something that can obviously wait.

I really try my best to leave it in my purse and not constantly worry about being connected to the world. As I was driving in the midst of Philly’s traffic hour and hitting every single red light, I couldn’t help but to neurotically check my e-mail as I waited. I was having a frantic day bustling through the city and trying to do too many things at once—but the impulse to open the app without even looking down seemed to come naturally without a second thought. As I saw the light turn green out of my peripheral vision, I look up to see the yellow-cab in front of me was not moving and the driver was standing outside of his car, staring me dead in the face with a look that burned through my soul. It was a look of disgust combined with disappointment, and the weirdest part was—I didn’t even know he saw me reach for my phone.

I was confused, but at the same time, I knew exactly why he got all the way out of his car to blankly stare at me. He didn’t yell anything, he didn’t shake his head, or even make any expression at all—he just wanted to make a statement and I could see it in his eyes. I threw my phone on the passenger seat as he drove off and I disconnected from the virtual world for a while to focus on the real one.

Psychologists say our obsession with social media is driven by a combination of attempting to gain pleasure and trying to prevent anxiety—but in reality, it can actually do the opposite.

Psychologist and author, Larry Rosen, Ph.D., wrote a blog post on Psychology Today about his research dealing with neuroscience, psychology and technological interaction. He explains how the urge to naturally check our phones for pleasure releases “a squirt of dopamine or serotonin,” giving us a temporary, false reality of happiness.

“Whether we have received an alert or notification—an external interruption—or we are musing about missing out on something in our virtual social world—an internal interruption—is akin to obsession or compulsion, both of which are anxiety-driven issues,” Dr. Rosen said.

He explains how in the last few generations, technology advancement has drastically changed how people get their quick fix for attention from the outside world. People’s guilty pleasure of posting something to receive a reaction can be a tool for personal satisfaction, but it can also lead to anxiousness and yearning for a need for approval.

“We have not sunk to the level of a psychiatric disorder like Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, but we are not far away,” Dr. Rosen said.

It is important to stay connected with friends, but to not let the falsification of having a large network of social media friends be detrimental to our mental health. Spending some time disconnected from the virtual world seems to be the best therapy for reducing anxiousness, obsession, and FOMO (fear of missing out) when dealing with depression and anxiety in the real world.

A small network of close friends is always better than a huge network of fake ones.

Cover Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2015/09/06/00/45/sunset-926723_960_720.jpg

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.


It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.

These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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An Open Letter to Soda

You're both good and bad, but you never fail to satisfy me.


Dear soda,

How do I even begin to describe my connection to you? I have shared countless moments with you that we're both my best and my worst. Above all, you fill me up better than water, milk and juice ever do. And even though you're as equally unhealthy as alcohol is (no offense), you're always the safer, if not the most refreshing choice. But even so, you give me more calories than I want in one meal, although burning off that kind of energy is second nature to me.

Before I lavish you with compliments and thank you for cooling me down on hot summer days, it's time to get the unpalatable truth about you and nutrition, soda. You're a primary reason why I'm not in the best shape of my life. Every time I try to have that extra little bit of muscle, you end up setting me back. It's so easy for me to crave for you, because of how delicious you are, and the sugar high you give me is absolutely amazing compared to what I get eating candy and all those other sweets.

I know it's really puzzling for a writer like me to be writing an open letter to a beverage, but you're actually a pretty big part of my life. Why? Because you don't just quench my thirst on hot days, or affect my upset stomach for better or worse, you give me just a smidgen more energy than coffee and tea do. The caffeine in you isn't good for me in the long run, but I need it on a regular basis so I don't zone out during my classes. Honestly, without you, I don't feel as uninhibited as I like to be.

What I love the most about you is that you come in numerous flavors, and even though it's scientifically proven to be ineffective and also tastes worse than gruel, you come in diet form. In every restaurant and cafeteria, you get your own fountain, and students like myself prefer to go there instead of the coffee machines. The hiss of fizz when I open you up makes my mouth water, chills go up my spine and I never resist that first taste of your sugary carbon. Out of all the flavors you offer, I love root beer, cream soda, grape, orange, ginger ale and Dr. Pepper the most. The possibilities with you are so endless.

Soda, the best thing you've ever done for is satisfy me when I didn't feel satisfied.

From one of your many friends,

Konner Donté Watson

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