Social Media Detox: Is it Helpful?

So,it’s been 3 years since I decided to quit social media. And I must admit there has been some dramatic changes in my life after that decision.Apart from some minor issues like missing a social event,I have really not missed anything that could possibly add value in my life in these 3 long years!Now you can’t just convince yourself to quit social media without giving yourself valid answer to ‘Why?’ So it took me almost 5 years(I created my account back in 2012 and deactivated in early 2017) to realise that I can give ‘quitting social media’ a try.

So primarily there were various reasons behind deactivating my social media account.But before coming to that lets find out why social media is so addictive.

Why is social media addictive?

  1. Social Media is designed to be addictive.Nicholas Carr says,”When we go online,we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading,hurried and distracted thinking and superficial learning.”Therefore whenever we stumble upon social media and get likes or comments,it stimulates our Dopamine and makes us feel satisfied.Social media companies even hire individuals who work as ‘attention engineers’ and clone principles used in casinos so that the consumers spend some more time in social media.
  2. Fear of missing out(F.O.M.O) is a major reason for people to stay tuned to social media.But FOMO isn’t real if you don’t know what you are missing out.Study shows 7 out of 10 students can’t get rid of their social media accounts only for the fear of being left ‘out of the loop’.
  3. Nowadays we value likes,dislikes,comments,share so much that it can be easily referred to as social currency or economy of attention.We put up our pictures or posts as a product to be tested in the market and if it doesn’t get the desired response or likes and comments,we choose to take it off the shelf or delete it.We let others evaluate us and attribute value to us. And this is a continuous addictive process.

How is life with Social Media?

Check out the points below,where I have noted down my experiences. I am quite sure that most of you can identify the symptoms mentioned.

1.Mental Exhaustion:

When I was an active social media user,I felt that I wasn’t being able to concentrate in my work.I was mostly concerned about my social media presence.Therefore,I could hardly evaluate how I was performing in real life.I felt insecure and wanted validation from people in social media by putting up new posts.And to be honest I felt sad if I didn’t get many likes or comments.I was so occupied with my social media image that I could hardly take care of myself.I used to be stressed out in mindless arguments.I was demotivated and couldn’t separate my real-life from the social media life .My brain was mostly congested with the irrelevant posts or memes.

2.Wastage of time:

I used to scroll mindlessly on social media for at least 3 to 4 hours everyday.Although it seems quite natural,the sum can be alarming if I attach monetary value to the time I waste.If my work value is 20$ per hour,I will waste 80$ in 4 hours.That will amount to 2400$ in a month and now you can see the bigger picture.Thus now if your work value is higher,you are wasting a lot of money for every hour you spend on social media.

3. Low Productivity:

Since I was mostly concentrated to my activities on social media,I could hardly focus on my projects.I felt I had mental block and was lacking creativity and depth.I could not concentrate in my work for long.Thus it affected my work.

4. Online Harassments:

Survey says,atleast 40% adults experience online harassment.73% has reportedly witnessed online harassments.I have been involved in unnecessary arguments just to defend myself.In most of the cases,we can barely present ourselves as we are in person.Therefore we are free to be attacked by anyone without any valid grounds of attacking. Fake accounts make this task easier. As an example,numerous women are attacked by death and rape threats for showing themselves as feminists.Students between 13 to 18 years who spend 2 hours a day on social media reported higher depression,anxiety and suicidal thoughts.In social media outrage is possible even in silliest matters.

5. Fake Relationships:

Mere exchange of likes and comments can make us feel connected with our social-media-buddies.But in reality a person can be totally different from his/her social media portrayal of personality.Therefore, if you feel connected with the school friends just because they are in your social,you might be devastated when they show a personality that has changed over time.Even the strangers can turn out to be hugely different than their social media portrayal when met in person.Although,sometimes,you might find like minded people through social media,you need to extend that relationship to reality to get the true essence of that relationship.

6.Privacy concerns:

With the growing tendency of online hacking,we are often concerned about our profile being hacked followed by public shaming.Since identity is public,their is a huge risk of misuse of it by intruders.

Long term effects of using Social Media

Social Media may bring forth multiple,well documented, significant harms in our lives.

  • It may permanently reduce your capacity of attention and sustained concentration.Thus causing attention deficit problems.
  • You may experience Fantom Vibration Syndrome which makes you think the phone is vibrating even when it’s not.
  • You will also indulge in Phubbing which indicates the vexing habit of checking phone while having conversations with others.
  • Tirelessly scrolling social media can affect tendons of fingers leading the to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • You may experience fatigue or sleep deprivation for staying up too late for posting on Facebook or Twitter losing valuable sleep.
  • Social Media can completely destroy your mental health.That may cause neglecting your personal life,be depressed,lead to mental preoccupation and escapism.

How’s life without Social Media?

When you omit yourself from social media,you might find yourself in a blank space.You might be at a loss to decide what to do after opening your browser.You might also miss the witty references to memes or trending topics in your conversations.Still you will be swayed by the positive impacts quitting social media can bring to your life.

1. Head Space:

You reclaim headspace after getting past the first few weeks of withdrawal symptoms. You feel calm and composed.Your brain is healed. You also become blissfully ignorant of the overflowing irrelevant news and carefully curated pictures that was consuming your head.

2. Self realisation:

You finally find some time to focus on yourself. There is an automatic shift in focus from what everyone else is doing to what you are doing. Suddenly get plenty of time unsure of how to use. You get time to evaluate your performance daily. You get to discover and learn new hobbies. Suddenly you find ways to increase your productivity and take care of yourself. Since you don’t get to see hate-filled comments,political rants,insane quotes and toxic people you feel the inner peace. You also overcome your insecurities and depression. You get that required mental bandwidth to do deep work.

3. Living in the moment:

You finally get to experience meetings and events. Since you don’t need to click pictures or update location information just for the sake of letting people know that you are having a good time,you feel burden free. You enjoy every moment you spend with your friends,loved ones,strangers or yourself. You don’t need to worry about clicking the perfect picture of that event with potentiality of hundreds of likes. You feel rejuvenated like never before.

4. Socializing:

You start building meaningful relationships. You find new ways to work on the relationships you already have. You also understand the vagueness of the online relationships and tend to create sustainable relationships. You get the real sense of socializing.

Should I be on social media or not?

Well,some people seem to do quite well while being on social media. Others are toxically addicted to social media to perform even minute tasks.In either case,social media does restrict you from performing at your best capabilites.Moreover,there are numerous people whose work is social media oriented.In that case ,you really can’t leave social media.But there are ways in which can create social media wellness.

1. Make friends with like-minded people:

When you are friends with people who share same interests and values as you do,you feel the positive vibe.You feel free to share your thoughts and don’t get threatened by unnecessary arguments. You can follow people who boosts you up with a motivational vibe and add value to your life. There is no shame in unfriending or unfollowing people whose social media presence embarrasses you.

2. Browse or post intentionally:

Try to avoid the news feed.That’s were all the unnecessary information lies. But once you’ve customised your news feed or only turned on posts from people you admire,you will feel a lot better.Browse or post only when you need to share something that you feel might add great value to your or other’s lives.

3. Delete social media from phone:

Even if your job is related to social media,delete social media from phone. This won’t give you opportunity to binge -visit your social account whenever you open your phone. Since,we use phones in various purposes thus keep it with us most of the time,we need to make sure that the device doesn’t carry any source of negativity. For emergencies you can always visit your account from your phone’s browser.

4. Use in scheduled time:

If your job requires you to browse social media very often,try to use it in scheduled time. You can always fix the time you want to invest in social media. There are number of productivity apps that might help you in this case ,but those are just mechanical solutions.

5. Binge sometimes:

If you’ve deactivated your account,always keep the flexibility to binge into it occasionally. There is nothing wrong to go back to the place to understand how much your life has changed ever since you have left social media.

Always remember,you should have control over your life.You should not just let social media to decide who you are and how you should feel about yourself.Once you’ve understood that you can sort your social media presence. And if only you’re not necessarily required to stay on social media for your business or job,always remember you can never hit your highest productivity capacity no matter how little time you spend on social media.

How to Find True Passion

As explained by famed psychologist and researcher Robert Vallerand after his decade long dedication in the study of psychology of Passion:
” Passion is a strong inclination towards an activity that has these three qualities.
1.It is something we enjoy.
2.It is something we value.
3.It is something we can dedicate ourselves to.

Now, although we know what passion is,struggles to find out what we actually love is often quite obvious.There are several reasons behind why we are mostly unable to find our passion.

Reasons:

1.We are afraid to pursue what we love.
2.We are interested in multiple fields and unable to choose one as a career.
3.External forces (i.e. society,peer pressure) shape what we think we should do(often termed as ‘shoulding’).
4.We are afraid to explore new fields of haven’t explored enough.

So have you identified why you couldn’t find your passion till date?Now before you move into how you can actually ‘find’ passion,let’s have a look into what researchers say about ‘finding’ passion.In 2018
Stanford psychologists Carol Dweck,Gregory Walton and former Stanford Postdoctoral fellow Paul O’Keefe,after several studies, led to the conclusion :”The belief that interests arrive fully formed and must simply be ‘found’ can lead people to limit their pursuit of new fields and give up when they encounter challenges”.Walton further explains : “If you’re overly narrow and committed to one area that could prevent you from developing interests and expertise that you need to do that bridging work”.
Therefore if you are still considering finding passion ,lets change the mindset to developing one.Consider that even after finding what you truly love you’ll have to work for it and chasing it won’t be smooth.You should not retreat when you encounter inevitable challenges.So with that on mind let’s get to know how you can identify the field you’re ‘most inclined to.

Ways to Find Passion:

1.Self reflection:

Write down the answers to the following questions in your journal.We can easily ignore our intuitions but while journaling we are bound to face them.Make sure you’re being absolutely honest with yourself.Remember whatever the end result of the self reflection is ,you don’t need to ashamed of it.
A. What subject could I read 500 books about without getting bored?
B.What do you do most of the time?
C.What can you do for 5 years without being paid?
D.What do you spend your money on the most?
E.What makes you lose track of time?
F.Who is your professional hero?
G.What is something which someone else does that thrills you?
H.What do you want to get better at?

There are numerous other questions but these are the questions which have benefitted me personally.

2.Remember what you loved when you were a child:

There are things that we still remember doing as a child.But later on we abandoned them considering them too be too impractical to execute or to achieve financial freedom.Instead of ignoring it,set aside an hour for the task and when you’re over with it reflect how did you enjoy it.If you did enjoy,consider doing it in regular intervals for an hour or so.


If you remember something to be appealing at some point of time and now you don’t feel the same way ,try rembering which part of it you actually enjoyed.Maybe you wanted to become a doctor because you loved serving others and not because you wanted to know about human body and operate on it.You can try community work to feel the same way and consider it as a passion.

3.Ask your friends for feedback:


Sometimes we are not the best judges of ourselves.Consider if you’re friends complement you over anything which comes naturally to you.Maybe they complement your fashion sense,artwork,your sense of humor.Try something out of it.Write articles on fashion trends,share artwork on social media,create a meme page on Facebook.You may fall in love with these works and find a passion out of it.

4.Don’t presume that your passion should be your job:

Many a times we ignore our passion because we’re afraid it won’t be a financially wise decision.Therefore we drain ourselves in jobs that we don’t love and regret for the passion we couldn’t pursue.In such situation,allot few hours in a day for your passion.

After a strenuous project reward yourself with some time conducting the things you love.This may turn into something productive and entrepreneurial in future.On the other hand,some people feel devasted when they try to turn their passion into profession.Maybe turning something they love into a means of earning contradicts with their values.They end up frustrated and not reaching the money goals.Thus,it’s not necessary to turn passions into profession.Let it make you feel alive whenever you pursue it and give you a sense of satisfaction and add meaning to your life.

5.Combine your talents:


If you are interested in multiple fields and struggle to start off with a particular field(often termed as ‘paradox of choice’), this tip might be helpful for you.According to Oliver cemberton,the CEO of Silktide ,”even if we have mediocre skills,we can fuse these skills and find our passion.Most successful people are a fusion of skills,often not even exceptional skills,but they’ve made their fusion exceptional”.As an example,Apple CEO Steve Jobs combined his technological, entrepreneurial and marketing skills to live his dreams.It didn’t require him to be excellent in specifically one field, but the fusion was  excellent.

6.Start with whatever skills you have:

“Pick something you have an interest in and then go full-bore and try to get as good as you possibly can at it.”


You might think that you don’t have any skills to start off with.Consider author Cal Newport’s suggestion in such case:”Pick something you have an interest in and then go full-bore and try to get as good as you possibly can at it.”And that’s the ultimate suggestion you can possibly use in reality.I personally found this to be way more helpful to focus on a particular field.Mark Cubin, owner of Dallas Maverick states:
“Let me make this as clear as possible:
1.When you work hard at something you become good at it.
2.When you become good at doing something,you’ll enjoy it more.
3.When you enjoy something,their is a very good chance you’ll become passionate or more passionate about it.
4.When you’re good at something, passionate and work even harder to excel and be the best at it,good things happen.”

7.Work in alignment with your values:


Sometimes when we work for something we don’t believe in,we end up frustrated.For example,if we support  the cause of saving environment,we can’t work for a company which works in a way that causes harm to the environment.Therefore it is necessary that we understand what are the things that make us feel ‘right’ .

8.Ikigai:

Ikigai is a Japanese concept which stands for ‘a reason to live’.According to the concept we need to answer four questions:
•What do you love?
•What are you good at?
•What does the world need?
•What can you get paid for?


We need to find balance amidst this four areas for a fulfilling life.
Gour Gopal Das,in his book Life’s Amazing Secrets has attached a Ven Diagram of Ikigai.I have attached the same for your clear understanding.

9.Start with a logistically feasible activity:


Trust me I’m not suggesting to not dream bigger.But it is always better to start with small steps.So,for example,if you want to start a business which needs huge capital,it will be unwise of you to take loans or borrow money if you have no money to invest initially.Because any business need constant investment of money for ultimate growth.Instead you can take a job,save money for future investment and when time is right (you have enough money to start a business as well as manage expenses when there is no source of income),you can gradually invest your money into your dream business and leave the job.

10.High Potential for Positive Reinforcement:


We need to choose an activity which provides us lot more than just pleasure.’Do what you love the most’ doesn’t help in such case.Maybe you love painting because of the pleasure of creating something new or creating the colour pallette.This will give you a short term mental stimulation.This stimulation might not be enough to paint everyday and create a passion out of it.It might only remain as a hobby.Now, you decide to show these paintings to others and others encourage you to create paintings for them and even offer you monetary rewards.This might turn you up since now painting not only gives you pleasure,but also rewards you with appreciation and money.Therefore,painting can turn into your passion since it has a long term positive reinforcement on you.

After trying all of these steps if you still feel confused about your passion,you should better explore different fields to find a new passion.Try out something that you think you’re terrible at.Have deep conversations with people,attend different workshops.You can also create a vision board or dream board where you can stick inspiring quotes,pictures.These are the best for visual thinkers.You can otherwise create virtual vision board on Pinterest although I’ll never prefer the former.

Always remember everyone has something unique in them to offer to the world.Therefore never give up hope thinking you’re average and might never succeed in any field.Explore things and work hard.Let me know in the comment section what your passion is and how you found it.

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