This past summer my family and I went on a cruise where our internet access was limited. With this in mind I took this as an opportunity to participate in a “social media detox” all the youtubers rave about. I’ll be honest if it wasn’t for this vacation I would never commit to quitting social media as I never saw it as a problem. However, what I learned from this experience was eye opening, and I recommend you give it a try too!
My Confidence Skyrocketed
(courtesy of unsplash, photographer: Hello_I_M_Nik)
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? If you’re anything like me it’s a variation of turning off your seventeen alarms and immediately checking instagram. From the second you open your eyes till you’re back in bed that night you’re bombarded with Instagram models and beauty gurus clouding your vision of reality. While studying human social behaviors and interactions I’ve found that social media is one of the leading causes of mental illnesses, stress, and strained relationships (The Negative Effects of Social Media). Before I went through this detox I wouldn’t have believed these studies, but after attaining first-hand knowledge I saw the negative effects social media had on my confidence. Throughout my entire life I grew up being told a certain body type was beautiful and when I would look in the mirror my body did not fit this picture. As I grew older, social media only drilled this idea further into my head. Surprisingly enough, once I took my attention away from the screen and looked beyond my body I was not only able to find a new sense of confidence but I was able to see the years of damage the internet has done to my psyche and to those surrounding me.
I Began to Live in the Moment
(courtesy of unsplash, photographer: Kevin Curtis)
As per my past vacations, I’d keep my phone glued to my hip, always ready for the perfect gramable moments. Yet, since I wasn’t’t able to immediately share my experiences with the world I took this time to see beyond what would generate the most likes and really take in the history and culture of my surroundings. I found that this trip became one of the most memorable moments I shared with my family since there were no distractions to aid in mindlessly and unintentionally ignoring each other. Every night, as we sat down for dinner, instead of my dad checking his emails or my mom scrolling through Facebook we were able to share our thoughts and opinions about the day’s excursions without fear of our phones creating a distance. Not only did I come to realize that my phone made me lose sight of what was really important, but my relationship with my parents grew fonder as I began to learn more about their childhoods and the experiences that shaped them.
My Mindset Changed For the Better
(courtesy of unsplash, photographer: rawpixel)
With the height of social media, it has become easier than ever to be up to date on current events. From the weather to your best friend’s #OOTD, to major world events, the internet gives you quick results. When I first found out I’d have to give up my phone for a week a million thoughts ran through my head. I not only was worried about missing calls or constantly worry about what was going on back home, I was worried I’d miss out on the lives of the people I envied over the screen. All these worries sound superficial, however, in the world we live in today it makes sense that our minds have become attuned to focus our attention more so on the fake world than what is right in front of us. When I took a step back I realized it was easy to say my phone wasn’t’t a distraction or didn’t taint relationships but in actuality, it was the reason I took so many experiences for granted and lost opportunities to make moments count with the people that mattered the most.
Don’t get me wrong, social media can be a great way to connect with others, but during once in a lifetime moments it’s important to understand the internet will always be there and you’re not missing out on much.