Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Why Staying off Facebook and Social Media Made Me Happier

When I quit smoking a few years ago, the first few days were bleak. I wondered how I would cope and manage through the day; and especially with how I would get through those dark mornings. Would life ever be quite the same again? Would I survive such mental punishment and torture from the withdrawal pangs of nicotine?

Now it wasn't quite so horrendous as this, but when I decided to quit facebook and all social media sites for 2 weeks, I did have withdrawal symptoms for the first 48 hours. Okay, I may not have been pulling my hair out like I did when I quit cigarettes, but it was still present.

It still felt like something was, well, missing.

But after that initial mental, foggy patch, I actually (And suddenly) became happier. And here's why.

You see until I came off facebook, I hadn't realised how much it was probably adversely affecting me. But it has been measurable I can tell you that. What I mean by that is, I have noticed my happy-ometer increase since being away.

I have realised in this 2 week getaway that I don't need to know where you ate your last dinner and I certainly don't need to see a photo of it.

I don't need to know what you are doing every waking hour of your life. I don't need to know that you didn't like the film Logan. I am quite able to form my own opinion.
And besides, I would much rather discuss this with you over a coffee.

For any of my facebook friends reading this I hope you don't take offence! None is intended.

And I don't need to be reading the adverse and most often, negative opinions of the world, constantly filling my newsfeed, by people who just want everyone else to agree and substantiate those opinions. I have the news to do that for me.

I don't need to be watching endless videos either and finding out halfway through that the headline was just that: a headline to pull you into watching it. No, I wasn't 'shocked' when I started to watch it. And neither did it have me in tears. And no, I wasn't surprised in the slightest what happened next.
Most time on facebook is wasted

I don't need to read about people who say "their doors are always open for you. Anytime you need me I am always here" or that I should copy and paste a status to show my support for some poor sufferer of depression or cancer. These are all designed to make people feel better about themselves. To make them look good.

If they really cared they would be working in a soup kitchen once a month or doing something more worthwhile than being able to say, "Look I got 5 shares and 34 likes for my post. Aren't I a great, caring person"

Of course I have friends on my Facebook who do great charitable work. I am speaking generally.

I just didn't need to be on it....

Well, coming back, I realise I haven't missed a thing. Everyone is still there. I am quite positive that not knowing what some friends ate for breakfast last Thursday isn't going to harm me.

The greatest benefit I have received from not being on social media is that I have been able to spend more valuable and precious time on my own life rather than being (misled or conditioned into believing) I should be wrapped up in other peoples lives so much.

Even those really successful people you follow on facebook; it isn't them posting that stuff. They have 8 administrators doing all the work for them. Their posts are pre-programmed in and it is all done autopilot.

They aren't on facebook 4 hours a day. They are busy getting their next stuff ready to sell to you.

Before you think the worst

Now I am not being a negative killjoy here, although it could be read I guess that I am. But neither am I speaking for you. I am sharing my personal opinion of why it has benefited me for being off for 2 weeks.

I am now back on. But I won't be spending as much time as I once did on there. It really has dawned on me that the majority of time spent on there is one BIG distraction from getting on with my own life.

Somewhere along the line I have taken my eye off that in-my-face fact.

The amount of extra writing, reading and walking I have done in the last two weeks is huge. And that focus on what I want, and my own life, rather than the lives of other people, has been tremendous.

And if you really think that social media is not addictive, then stay off it for 3 days. Go on. Try it.

Trust me, everyone will still be there when you get back. Nothing much would have changed. Except the fact that you would have gained so many extra hours spending time on you and your life.

Unless of course, facebook IS your life.

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