#DigitalDetox #PathtoHappiness: Preparing for my 30 day social/news media elimination

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Tomorrow is day 1 of my Digital Detox.

Thirty days free of mindlessly scrolling, negative news, fake news, waiting for “like” notifications and #firstworldproblem hastags. I don’t want to admit my social media/news media obsession, but I admit I am in need of a mindful refresh. I am working on becoming more mindful and in the moment. I want to be more intentional with my time. Upon blunt analysis, I noticed that social and news media thrusts me into a ball of negative emotions. I don’t feel good during my scroll. I don’t feel happiness reading the news each morning. Why waste my precious moments partaking in unhappy habits?

But first, I must test my theory—eliminating my social media and news media exposure will positively impact my happiness. My psychology professor certainly would not agree with my testing methods, but it is my journey. How do you gauge happiness anyways? There are too many variables. I’m no doctor, folks. This test will be my first-hand experience..

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 You can’t go anywhere without seeing a phone in hand and either Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or one of the many social media apps on the screen. Gone are the days of old when you would find people at a coffee shop reading the paper, a good ole book, or engaging in conversation about something other than Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber or a high profile riot. Recall your last conversation outside of work. Was it meaningful?  

Social Media Madness

Sometimes social media can be used for good, as it should, but most the time we find ourselves scrolling through endless crap and negative news. We begin to structure our conversations around what we have read on social media or news media instead of engaging in informed discussions based on research and observation. The ill-informed spread their ideas like wildfire across the internet and infect the other ill-informed and senseless movements—chaos ensues. Does crowd mentality come to mind? Maybe not if you are one of the many that spends their time on social media instead of learning.  

Sometimes doesn’t it feel like the world is getting stupider?<--intentional. Could it be the endless troves of useless, oftentimes false, information found on these platforms? Imagine a world where that wasted time is instead dedicated to learning—maybe self-discovery.

Instead, we spend our time scrolling.

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Social media may also feed on insecurities. How do you feel when you scroll through your feed? Do the articles, posts and comments make you feel good? How do you feel when one of your posts doesn’t get as many “likes” as you think it should? What if someone creates a fake account to bully you? Believe me, as someone who has experienced feelings of depression, eliminating what sparks these types of feelings is necessary.

News Media Mayhem

I once wrote an article on the evils of media—how it can be used to further a particular mission, whether based on merit or not.  Humans seek negative news—give them the news they want and watch them turn the world upside down. According to research conducted on violence by the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, we are living in the most peaceful period of our existence. Is this what you get from news media?

It controls our thoughts. Aren’t people more easily controlled when they live in a state of fear and chaos? #divideandconquer Yes, these groups just fight each other. However, this argument is better left to another day. #wearealldifferentgetoverit #saveyourenergyforgood

How these platforms impact me negatively:

  • Social media—when I post I obsess over likes. If I didn’t get many I feel insecure.
  • Social media—endless posts on “please donate.” This one is difficult because I want to help, but constant reminders of death and illness take a toll on me.
  • Social media—political posts. I agree we should share our ideas, but most politically charged posts I read aren’t about collaboration and encourage further division.
  • Social media—idiotic posts that make me feel bad for our current and future generations. #richgirlproblems #richkidsofinstagram #firstworldproblems #superdrunk #basicallynakedandfeelnoshame#MelaniaTrumpinstilettos
  • News media—I would say 85% of the articles posted on news media are negatively skewed (not confirmed. Just a guess).
  • News media—An article on Topic #1 written by Majornewsnetwork#1 has completely different stats than article on Topic #1 written by Majornewsnetwork#2.
  • News media—every crisis is always either created because of race, religion or political affiliation. Come on, some people are just insane.

The great thing about this life is that we have free choice. Shouldn’t we be using it to live a happier, more peaceful life?

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Here are things I will miss:

  • ·         Pics of my family and all the beautiful babies!
  • ·         Staying connected to family and friends I wouldn’t normally keep in touch with through traditional means (phone, email, etc)
  • ·         Quick updates on current events—although I normally don’t utilize social/news media for this unless breaking news occurs.

Well, this is a rather short list. Maybe I'll extend my elimination.

 

How I’m Going to Do It:

  • ·         Hide my social media apps in a folder on my phone
  • ·         Turn off all notifications
  • ·         Block news media websites from my phone and laptop

My plan was to download a free app blocking app, but that proved more difficult than I expected. Why do we not have more user-friendly apps for eliminating distractions? Obviously, self-control hasn't been good enough.

I’ll keep you updated on my journey. I will still post on social media, but I will not do so directly, I will not sign on to view. Therefore, any comments or questions will need to be posted on my website, or email me at myproambition@gmail.com.