Unplugged, unhinged, and no longer unhappy
How excessive social media use can take its toll on your life.
Ever feel like everyone else’s life is more interesting and exciting than your own as you scroll through Facebook? Do you struggle at work because it seems everyone else is getting the best assignments with opportunities to be recognized?
One needs to hardly look farther than the end of one’s own arm for the possible answer.
The extent to which mobile phones and their remarkable utility has infiltrated our daily life is significant, but it has come with a heavy price. Many people’s attachment often veers toward addiction, and their love of social media has helped shade the perception that their lives are less vibrant and fulfilling than those of their friends. And the act of repeatedly trying to build up self-worth by collecting “likes” and comments on posts tends to distract them from the joy of the activity at hand.
Sadly, technology has staged a coup-de-tat on much of our social lives, encouraging a slavish devotion to posting activities and obsessive behavior.
- Have you ever felt glued to your smartphone (even while driving) because “social connection” is really important and you might miss some crucial status update?
- Have you ever needlessly interrupted your work to check a social application?
- Are you that person in the movie checking your phone often, igniting that little screen to glow in the dark and disrupt the viewing pleasure of others?
- Have you ever taken a sneak peek at your phone while in a meeting or on a landline call because something more interesting might be happening?
- Have you ever accepted a request or agreed to go to an event even if it meant spreading yourself too thin instead of saying “no” simply because it’s a new opportunity for networking?
The constant chase of recognition and affirmation can drive depression and related symptoms is also often driven by “FOMO,” or Fear of Missing Out. FOMO triggers the body to produce the stress hormone cortisol, which can anxiously drive people to check their social media feeds not out of interest or desire but out of distress. FOMO contributes to the fact that people average around 280 minutes a day of screen time.
So what to do? We should begin replacing FOMO with JOMO, or the Joy of Missing Out. Learn to get comfortable with the idea of doing what you actually want to do instead of things that you feel you should. You will be happier if you are following your own desires and chasing your own goals and dreams rather than those of someone else. Appreciate your own self-worth, not based on how many likes you get on social media, but by appreciating what you have and by being content with your own character.
Everyone is born unique, with different strengths, weaknesses, physical appearances and values. Therefore, people need to embrace these differences — the good, the bad and the quirky — and follow their own desires for themselves, not for the satisfaction of others. Everyone has the means and tools to become a better version of themselves, it just needs guidance, commitment, and nurturing to see the bigger picture, and get them where they want to be for the right reasons and without being controlled by a “beep” of a cellphone.