Mental Health Social Awareness

The Invisible Social Media Pandemic: When It Is Time to Stop Scrolling

We used to feed social media. Now, the tables have turned.

Is there a more valuable product than time? It is the currency of life, the most elementary finite resource, and we have an obligation to make it worthwhile, especially when we have only one shot at it. It is down to us individually to determine what that signifies to us. From my perspective, that means being considerate to others, being mindful of my actions and constantly be aware of the thoughts to which I give my time and energy.

I am an avid bookworm, and at any one time, I would have at least ten books on my “to read” list. I usually tell myself that I would not purchase any more books from my local bookshop or Book Depository (I cannot resist their free shipping worldwide) until I have finished reading the ones in that said list. However, I do not have the self-discipline to adhere to that rule, but I am proud of it because reading is one of the wisest and most relaxing ways I can spend my time.

I attempt to be mindful of what fuels my spirit and what extinguishes it, and I aim to spend my time accordingly.

The Internet Revolution At Full Speed

However, staying focus on the things that keeps me going is hardly a walk in the park, especially with the neverending lure of technology and mobile devices around me that are within arm’s reach. Unlike with books, the avenue these devices provide can swiftly take me down a rabbit hole of anxiety where I can sense my motivation land self-confidence fading away.

Whether this is due to the fact that I am feeling guilty for recklessly using so much time, exhausted from glueing my eyes to the electronic for too long, or because I am negatively comparing myself to other people, I know that my time can be used more wisely.

I often put a stop to these technology binges with a nagging sense of emptiness and, in spite of the vast array of connections available as a result of technology, a sense of disconnection from reality as well. The last thing I want to do is scroll my day away, but I cannot help but feel compelled to do it.

Social Media Feeds Our Psychological Needs And Distorts Our View Of The World

Each of us has a fundamental need to feel appreciated. Moreover, as human beings, we are born with this unhealthy obsession to seek instant gratification, be it small or significant. Social media’s popularity can be broken into its capacity to tap into those needs.

However, it is vital to remind ourselves that the complexities and imperfections of reality are often neglected or hidden completely. To compare your real life to another person’s crafted digital personality is unjust and nonsensical. Doing so will only put you on a path filled with disappointments and frustrations.

Social media can also tease us by throwing at us adventures of individuals better left in our past. I did not entirely appreciate this painful effect until my social media usage worsened an experience of heartbreak in the past. Like being stabbed in the back, my screen was filled with reminders of her existence, be it her name on Facebook or her images on Instagram. And not just her, but at times, with her new boyfriend too.

It did not take long before her images escaped the boundaries of my screen and filled my room and my mind. My entire reality was flooded with memories of when she held me that way and accompanying feelings of sadness, loss, jealousy and rage.

I thought resilience meant I should not be influenced by something as ridiculous and meaningless as Facebook or Twitter. Still, regardless of how much I do not wish to be influenced, the reality is that I am and acknowledging that truth hurts.

The Effects Social Media Can Have On Our Feelings Of Self-Worth Is Not Trivial

Only when I embraced this did I start to move forward toward alleviating the pain of heartbreak. The first approach I used was using my time for reflective writing that provided me with natural, sustainable healing instead of using that time to fuel my social media obsession.

When I access social media, I ensure that my feed contains posts that I enjoy observing and help me evolve for the better, rather than those that put my life into reverse. Additionally, I share posts that express my inner emotions or at least brighten someone’s day.

I have also made a promise to be present with myself and my emotions, without judgement, instead of utilising social media to lure my attention away from my feelings. This mindful practice, though challenging, is worth the effort because it enables me to reinforce my ability to treat emotions as relevant but fleeting rather than being in resistance or letting them consume me.

Heartbreak and pain are part of the human experience. It assists in reminding myself that I am not alone and to reach out to those that are trustworthy — offline — and allow myself to be vulnerable enough to convey what I am dealing with. From my viewpoint, excessive social media actually weakens my sense of bond to others because I have a tendency to retreat when I start thinking that my life is not as enjoyable or meaningful as other people’s.

I have taught myself to limit the time I spend unwittingly attracting insecurity with social media and to spend that time either with mindful scrolling or something else completely. I remind myself that this technology symbolises a new geographic landscape of communications, and it can be an interesting and entertaining tool if I tread responsibly.

Social Media Is A Double-Edged Sword

Occasionally, I take breaks when necessary and reading through humorous posts on Reddit can be a good stress reliever. I also discover that pausing periodically during creative routines grants ideas the necessary time to bake themselves until they are ready to surface, and social media can be an excellent way to give my mind a timely break.

I am aware that I need to cease scrolling when I feel a change in my emotions; when the lighthearted fun of connecting virtually and the joy of sharing my creative work with people worldwide become a self-imposed prison of mindlessness. I hate to allow my quality time to tick away in a stream of posts and updates. When I sense the beginning of this shift, I know it is in my best interest to stay away from my device, take a couple of deep breaths and focus on something more fulfilling.

I also found that it is more beneficial to stay in the present and be connected with my surroundings rather than diving into a digital realm whenever the opportunity is available. On walks, commutes and at the dinner table, I enjoy being fully present with the people and things around me, as well as my own sensations and feelings.

These tiny moments of togetherness and solitude are opportunities for self-reflection, presence and connection, but only if I resist the temptation to check my smartphone every few minutes obsessively.

Final 2¢: This Doom-Scrolling Has To End.

The most significant point to take away from this story is to become aware of how often we go after our phones so we can evaluate how we utilise our time and whether we can put some of that time to wiser use.

I have caught myself numerous times at the start of an unproductive scrolling session and made the intention to set my phone aside after ten minutes. It is a preventive measure I have imposed upon myself so that I do not get too lost in a cycle of posts and updates. And other days, I could use a stream of quality videos of people making fun of themselves, and that is all right too; the idea here is about attaining balance and awareness.

With great power, there must also come great responsibility. Social media has proven itself to be a formidable power when it comes to changing one’s world view and the methods through which society functions. Hence, social media can help serve humanity better when it is used responsibly. Whether we are scrolling, sipping a warm cup of coffee, or having a discussion, cultivating a mindful presence can only improve our experiences. This, I believe, is how we can use the small of time we are afforded wisely.

When I drown myself in moments of deep, total presence, the only response that I receive is gratitude, and I cannot think of a better way to use my time than in a state of appreciation.

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