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10 Ways Going on a ‘Social Media Diet’ Helped My Mental Health

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A couple of weeks ago (17 days to be exact), I decided to try a little experiment. I decided to go on a “social media diet.” At the time, I felt like I was being swallowed alive by the symptoms of mental illness. I was being completely attacked by insecurities about myself and kept comparing myself to others. I felt really lonely as if I had no friends, and my brain held a continuous whispering soundtrack called, “I’m not good enough.”

So, I decided to go on a social media diet. I removed Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter from my iPhone. I would allow myself to check them on my computer once a day if I wanted to.

Here’s what happened:

1. My brain began to feel less cluttered and more serene.

I had less (useless) information to absorb.

2. My anxiety levels decreased.

This was because I wasn’t thinking about the things I had just seen on Facebook or Instagram.

3. I stopped comparing myself to others.

This happened by day two of the diet! The insecurity just seemed to vanish.

4. I stopped feeling sorry for myself.

I stopped thinking that I didn’t have a life that stacked up against so many of my “friends” on social media. My self-esteem improved.

5. I became more present.

I stopped saying, “Uh huh” while checking my phone and became a present listener for my kids. This improved my sense of connection with my teenagers, and it made me feel like a better mom, stopping the “I’m a bad mom” brain soundtrack.

6. I soon found I didn’t want to waste time checking social media.

My house was cleaner, and I actually focused on getting some writing done while at my computer. This gave me a sense of accomplishment.

7. I felt more connected to people.

One day, I did a Facebook check on my computer, and I saw it was a good friend’s birthday. Writing on her Facebook timeline seemed cold and distant somehow. I hadn’t talked to her in a while. So I picked up the phone and sang “Happy Birthday” to her. I began to pick up the phone instead of Facebook message or even text. I felt less lonely.

8. My mood improved.

I was actually out of the house getting some errands done, and I had the energy to pop in at the flower shop where another friend works just to say “hi.” I realized I do have good friends who care about me a lot.

9. A relapse on social media left me feeling bad.

A cheat day one Sunday afternoon (two hours of pure wasted social media time) left me feeling completely anxious, frazzled and negative about myself. Just like a sugar binge on a regular diet.

10. I filled my time with more productive activities.

I spent time actually reading some of the self-help books that were sitting dusty under my bed. I wrote positive phrases on sticky notes to put around my house.

One sticky note says, “Live loved.” Every time I walk past the fridge, I am reminded that I am loved and I can love myself, too. I want to live my life based on giving love to others, and I certainly don’t need social media to do that!

Leaving social media stopped the trigger for many of my own insecurities, self-doubt and negative thinking. My “social media diet” has become a conscientious lifestyle change, and I feel better.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: January 9, 2017
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