People use social media constantly! There’s always a picture for Instagram, a story for Snapchat, or thought for Twitter. To some degree, this connectivity between human beings can be seen as beautiful and nuanced, a complex and fascinating topic. But, at the same time, there’s such a thing as way too much social media!
If you’ve been worried that your screen time has been reaching too-high levels, consider this your sign to start reducing it. You’ll receive numerous benefits from decreasing your attention to social media! Here are ten amazing things that happen if you cut back on social media use.
1. You’ll Be More Creative If You Decrease Social Media Use
Social media use can interfere with creativity. It serves as a distraction and means of occupying your mind, reducing your brain’s natural ability to innovate independently. If you’re struck by a block in creativity, taking a break from social media can slowly remove that block.
On top of that, an over-reliance on technology to fill time can worsen your tendency towards boredom. The less you allow yourself to find quick “fixes” to feeling bored, the better your creativity will sore. You’ll give your mind the chance to come up with its entertainment. Just half an hour without social media can get those gears turning a little more. Imagine, then, what long-term reduction can do!
2. You Ditch Social Comparison
Social comparison has its uses, but social media use encourages it in its unhealthiest forms. Studies even show that some individuals can develop severe depression from the comparison that stems from social media!
This outcome occurs because, by nature, social media posts attract some degree of attention – even if it’s just sharing something with close friends. The goal is for someone to see those things. As such, people choose to share good things most of the time. The popularity of a post is often a motivational factor in deciding what someone posts.
When you see these posts of people showing off the best parts of their lives, you compare yourself unfairly to them. You know what your real life is like in all its ups and downs, but you only see the “ups” of others. Your comparisons are automatically doomed ones! This creates a cycle of social comparison that you can’t break easily without quitting social media.
Taking a break from social media allows you to feel more self-assured and less interested in comparing yourself to others. You’ll remain more grounded in the real world and won’t feel envious of others.
3. You’ll Be More Productive
Lots of people use social media periodically throughout the day. You might think that a few seconds or minutes of social media use while performing other tasks is fine. But the truth is that this completely disrupts your productivity.
Why does this happen? Quickly responding to a message or scrolling through a feed involves interrupting your current task. This requires that your brain perform something known as task-switching. This task means that multitasking even a few seconds of social media every several minutes.
Multitasking has been proven in research to tank productivity and attention. Just clicking around Instagram or Facebook for a few minutes can mean you lose 40% of your productivity! You finally get that much-needed attention and concentration back when you cut back on social media use.
4. You’ll Be Less Anxious
Social media use can increase symptoms and levels of anxiety and stress, say studies. Many elements of its usage can cause elevated cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is the stress hormone that, when released in excess, leads to chronic issues and impairment. This anxiety happens because social media use creates:
- Constant exposure to bad news and negative interactions in an unfiltered and uncontrollable without limits.
- Feelings of lack of control due to knowledge about numerous world issues without personally alleviating them.
- Stress from trying to keep up with others and be aware of what everyone is doing, or from trying to gain popularity or validation.
- Personal anxiety and self-esteem issues from social comparison, loneliness, and fear of missing out.
- Constant connectivity spurs an innate obligation to respond to everyone and everything as soon as possible, giving you no time to breathe.
When you cut back on using these various platforms, you free yourself from these constraints. Your mental health will improve in due time as you learn better to regulate your interactions with these media types.
Start Slowly When You Begin Cutting Back On Social Media Use
However, it’s worth noting that you may feel more anxious when you first start cutting back on social media use. This increase is because:
- Social media can be addictive. So cutting back can cause withdrawal symptoms.
- Social media is an easy but ultimately unsustainable way to get dopamine. It takes time for your brain to feel okay with cutting back on that easy but harmful source.
- Social media forces excessive levels of constant connectivity. Cutting back depletes those feelings and can make you feel isolated at first.
Luckily, these issues tend to only last for a few days of reducing the use of your favorite platform. They’re also just a necessary hurdle in changing a destructive and excessive habit. It won’t be long before you feel more positive effects than negative ones!
5. You’ll Sleep Better
Lots of people scroll through social media shortly before they go to sleep. Some even stay on their phones in their dark bedrooms, checking notifications and interacting with others late at night. This has adverse effects on sleep, according to research, because:
- The artificial light disrupts your brain’s natural melatonin production, reducing sleepiness.
- Social media can bring anxiety and harmful emotional sources that make sleep more difficult.
- Engaging in wakeful activities before bed reduces your brain’s connection to bedtime and drowsiness, making your bedroom less conducive to sleep.
- Social media posts can engage the brain and be exciting or interesting, making you feel less restful.
Cut back on social media use at night, and you’ll be able to enjoy much easier sleep, typically with higher quality! It’s also an easy way to reduce your time spent on these platforms. Put the phone away (and keep it away) before bed to shave off hours of weekly social media time.
6. You Stop Fearing Missing Out When You Cut Back On Social Media Use
The fear of missing out, or FOMO, is a genuine problem with social media. You feel the need to know what everyone’s doing and talking about constantly. You click on notifications and scroll through your feed, so you’re never out of the loop. Then you see people having fun without you, and the fear of missing out increases some more. It’s a never-ending cycle!
Cutting back on social media use starts to break the cycle. You’ll slowly overcome FOMO when you spend a lot of your time focused on the real world. You’ll also soon realize that being a little out of the loop isn’t a bad thing. After all, there’s no way to keep track of 100% of what happens online!
7. You Get A Ton Of Free Time
Social media use adds up. Every hour, a few minutes spent on social media adds up to a couple of hours spent on social media per day. A couple of hours spent on social media a day adds up to more than two days a month. Think of all that time you could be spending on something else! You could:
- Cook better meals instead of always ordering in or eating out.
- Exercise in your chosen way.
- Perform a self-care routine and give yourself stress-free rest.
- Keep your living space cleaner and more precise.
- Have time to devote to your hobbies every day.
- Volunteer with a cause you believe in.
- Spend time with friends and family in person.
- Read a book or listen to an informative podcast.
8. Cut Back On Social Media Use…You Get To Live In The Moment And Real World
You’ll notice that socially intelligent people remain unattached to their phones. Instead, they often practice a lot of mindfulness. They’re aware of themselves, grounded in the real world, and living in the moment. Sure, they might document things for memories, but they don’t feel the need to share that documentation on their favorite platform!
Living in the real world brings you in touch with so many incredible things. You’ll connect to your life and the present without being focused on updating your profile and posting new items. That mindfulness can also bring improved mental health and positivity!
9. You’ll Get More In Touch With Yourself
Social media use can often be a motivating factor in developing your sense of self. You see people you want to be like and try to emanate them. You may even post things on social media that specifically curate an idea of you that isn’t true. Then the feedback you get on those posts determines what you share and how you shape your life. It’s just not healthy!
If you want to get in touch with your true self, cut back on social media use. You’ll realize that the things others care about may not be what you care about, and that’s okay! Your opinion of your own life and what makes you happy is most important. Discover yourself away from the pressures of the internet!
10. Your Relationships Improve When You Decrease Social Media Use
Social media was initially intended to improve connections with others. Unfortunately, our social intelligence has tanked due to poor interactions through such a one-dimensional platform.
This isn’t to say that “technology drives us further apart” – that’s a nuanced topic for another day. But it is a fact that when all your relationships are maintained through a virtual space, you lose some of your relationship and social skills.
When you cut back on social media use, you bring more importance to in-person, meaningful interaction. You’ll improve your relationships by:
- Developing high emotional intelligence that improves empathy and understanding.
- Reducing the superficial relationships in your life and making space for more face-to-face contact with those who matter.
- Arguing less and being more mindful about your words because a virtual medium does not filter you.
If you want to improve your relationship with loved ones, cut back on social media use! Find more people in your life now who should be getting the attention you give to your platforms and posts.
Final Thoughts On Some Things That Happen If You Cut Back On Social Media Use
Technology has its place and purpose, but it shouldn’t be an overwhelming part of your life. Learn to find balance and cut back on your usage of these platforms so you can devote yourself to what matters and reap the benefits of that decision!