Social Media Detox: The One Health Craze Everyone Needs To Try At Least Once

7/7/14 12:39PM EST

Social Media Detox The One Health Craze Everyone Needs to Try At Least Once Social Media Detox: The One Health Craze Everyone Needs To Try At Least Once

New Girl/Fox

People will go to all sorts of crazy lengths to try and lose weight, flush their bodies of toxins or just fit in with the crowd. Whether it’s gluten-free or fat-free, there’s a health craze out there for it. But although we pay extensive attention to our physical health, we often forget about what we need for optimal mental health. Just as in our bodies, it’s possible to flush out the bad to make room for the good in our brains. It’s as easy as logging off. The social-media detox is probably the easiest and most effective way of restoring your mental health back to its peak, and it’s the one health craze everyone needs to try at least once.

Negativity is Contagious

If you sometimes find yourself feeling blue after a few minutes on Facebook, you’re not crazy. In a phenomenon called “emotional contagion,” studies have shown that people’s negativity can spread quickly and “infect” others through their social-media presences. Facebook is not your journal, nor is it your best friend, so there is absolutely no reason anyone should be airing dirty laundry or crying rivers to a network of hundreds or even thousands of so-called “friends.” But that doesn’t mean they won’t do it anyway. Social media is clever like that; it feeds on the vulnerability of the troubled, enticing them to vent their troubles in status updates like they’re on a chaise in the therapist’s office. But there’s no reason to subject yourself to that, and the only good way to avoid it is to log off and remove yourself from what is literally a breeding pool of negativity.

FOMO is Real

In the opposite effect of feeling blue because of someone else’s sour mood, you’ve probably at least once been bummed out simply because everyone is so damn happy. In real life, it’s hard enough. But being present on social media is like being at a party you can’t leave; you’re constantly in the middle of everyone’s chatter, being forced to absorb every little thing about every little thing. From stories and pictures to inside jokes, it’s a never-ending, constant bombardment. And even if your life is perfectly fine, and you have very little to complain about, leave it to social media to remind you that you’re still not as great as that guy who’s traveling the world or that girl who just had her dream wedding. Other people’s happiness — when it’s not your family or close friends — sometimes has the adverse effect of making you feel miserable for missing out on what “could be.” The FOMO effect, or “Fear of Missing Out” — as stupid as it sounds — is very real. Being bombarded by the fabulousness of 800+ people’s lives just isn’t good for you when you’re in a funk, and sometimes it’s best to filter out all the excess buzz for your own sanity.

Real Life is Better

How many times have you sat down for a great meal or taken a vacation somewhere, and the only thing you’re concerned with is making sure you get a great picture to share on Facebook? It’s like we’ve forgotten to enjoy the actual experiences, because we’re so consumed by the need to tell everyone how fabulous our lives are all the time. There’s nothing wrong with taking pictures, but there’s a point when you have to disconnect. People spend half their time with their heads bent over choosing filters and uploading pictures than enjoying the moment that’s actually passing by them. But what’s the good in that? Do you really want to look back and know that your life’s most important and memorable moments exist mostly online, because you can’t even remember what your food tasted like or how the view actually took your breath away? Well, that’s definitely what will happen if the first and last things you think at every event is, “Did I get a good picture?” or “I need to check-in.” Enjoy the actual moment, your Instagram and Facebook can wait. Social media is supposed to be an extension of our lives, not the replacement of it.

Try the social-media detox for just six months and remember what complete silence actually feels like. Try it for six months and remember who is actually a character in your life and who is just an extra in the background. Just for six months, reconnect with yourself and appreciate what you have without all the extra crap of other people’s lives constantly in your face. It’s time to put away the phones, turn off the computers and try the social-media detox, because your mental health is just as important as any other.

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