Untitled design (1).png

Hey there,

Welcome to my personal diary on faith, pre-med, travel, and other miscellaneous things.

18 Days Into No Social Media

18 Days Into No Social Media

Not being on social media has been way easier than I had thought. At first, after I had just deleted my insta app, I still felt an itch to check my account. But soon enough, my brain adjusted to not being on the app and I was able to focus my time and energy on other activities instead. Not being on instagram unsurprisingly gave me a lot of free time. Instead of scrolling through my endless feed, I could do other, more fulfilling, activities like: writing, reading, art, etc.

*Clarification: when I say “social media,” I am mostly referring to instagram because I don’t use facebook aside from messenger/keeping connected to friends.

Being off social media has definitely made a huge difference in my entire mental state. Instead of obsessively posting stories every time I was out with family/friends, I could focus on being fully present and mindful in the moment. This allowed me to really savor the moment and, for the first time in a long time, I felt like I was really living. Last week, my bestie and her sister (who coincidentally both don’t use Instagram) visited me for a week from Boston and I took them on outings to SF, Santa Cruz, and all over the Bay Area. Usually, when I am doing fun things and eating delicious food, I instinctively post on my story. But since I didn’t have the app on my phone, the temptation was removed and I was forced to be fully present in the moment. It allowed me to fully focus on enjoying my time with my friends, in a way that I wouldn’t be able to if I were distracted my social media. Granted, we still took lots of pictures, but our motivation was different: we were taking pictures to commemorate the time for ourselves and ourselves only. Their visit was the most fun I’ve had this past year—and I have no doubt in my mind that part of it was definitely because I wasn’t on social media.

no pressure fun

no pressure fun

It’s hard for me to put my finger on exactly why not being on instagram made me enjoy myself more, but I think it was because I didn’t feel the added pressure of posing for the camera and broadcasting my activities to the world. I didn’t have to fake having fun—I could actually have fun. This was huge for me, because I hadn’t even realized how much instagram had begun to influence the my mental state. Although it seems like a harmless act from the outside, it can subconsciously shape the way you live your life. The scary thing is that I don’t even consider myself to be an full-blown Instagrammer—if I am already feeling this way as a part-time user, I shudder at the thought of how full-time users live their lives.

I do have a confession to make, though. Sometime about a week ago, I felt this urge to re-download my insta app to upload a post. But as soon as I downloaded the app and tapped into it, I felt my stomach lurch. I literally felt sick at the idea of going back on it. It’s like that feeling you get when you first drink soda after a long period of no sugar. The weird thing is that even I don’t know why I had that reaction. Even though my mind had been pretty set on breaking my instagram fast, deep down I knew it would not be a good decision for me. So, I kicked the urge aside and deleted the app again.

I’m not saying that I’ll never use social media again. In fact, I might re-download instagram sometime soon. But when I do return to social media, I will do so with the full awareness of how it can negatively affect my state of being. I will set healthy parameters in place to not allow social media to influence how I live my life, and check my motives before posting stories/posts.

In sum, here are my findings from my mini-no social media experiment:

  • The withdrawal is minimal, but the benefits (of not being on social media) are substantial.

  • If not controlled, social media can literally alter your experience of life (by making you act in an inauthentic way).

  • Being fully present in the moment will lead to increased satisfaction and happiness.

  • A periodic social media fast can reorient you in a healthy way and reveal unhealthy usage habits.

I hope this experiment has been informative for you as it has been for me!

Until next time,

Ariel

The Mark of a True Friend

The Mark of a True Friend

Reflections on this CRAZY Year (May 2018-2019)

Reflections on this CRAZY Year (May 2018-2019)