Why I Quit Facebook And How It’s Made Me a Happier Person
It seems like these days we are virtually consumed with social media. Think about it. When is the last time you did something interesting and didn't pull out you phone to post about it? When was the last time you went to an event and didn't take a photo or record a video?
While all social media networks have their drawbacks, I decided that Facebook in particular was the most detrimental to my mental and emotional wellbeing. Facebook allows all of your linked friends access to very intimate details of your life including but not limited too your location, your photos, your address, your phone number, your videos, your thoughts, your interests, and even your likes and comments on other's pages.
Facebook stirred an unnatural sense of unease in me almost like paranoia. I found myself constantly, even subconsciously, continuously scrolling for anything to occupy my mind. Whether it be a news story, a friend's photo, or a status update, I was addicted to overloading myself with information constantly. This made for a mentally exhausting rollercoaster ride. Plus at the end of the day, I'd realize I'd distracted myself from actually getting anything productive done.
Aside from Facebook making itself an unwanted distraction, it also causes a variety of emotions that we don't nesicarily realize that lurk right under the surface. Facebook has been proven to cause people to feel jealous, depressed, and isolated. Consistently I'd be comparing myself to others. Am I popular enough? Am I doing what people expect of me? Am I cool enough? Thoughts like these run through your mind whether you realize them or not. Facebook exacerbated these types of thoughts for me ten fold.
Though it's possible to moderate your newsfeed and have some control over the content you consume, I still found it to be not enough to satisfy my needs. Negativity tends to be rampant on Facebook because people use it as an outlet to vent. While I understand this, that doesn't mean that I'd like to see it. I believe that negativity really does seep into our minds when we're exposed. It's only natural. Only by surrounding myself with more positivity and less negativity have I found this to work both ways and to be true.
Ultimately, the emotional costs of using Facebook were more than the benefits in my situation and I quit. Living up to certain expectations and constantly overloading my brain with essentially useless or invasive information was doing me no favors. In fact, come to find out, it was damaging to me.
Upon quitting Facebook I found myself to be absolutely addicted. It sounds ridiculous, but once something becomes so ingrained in you something you've used every day for years and has become part of your daily routine, you find yourself wanting to continue that routine. It took three days for me to stop compulsively reaching for my phone to check my Facebook. It took a week for me to feel like I could kick Facebook for good. It took several weeks to establish a new routine and fill my Facebook time with something else. Acclimating to life without Facebook was a lot harder than I initially anticipated. At face value it sounds silly but I assure you that psychological attachment to social media is a very real problem.
After that first few weeks I finally realized that a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I didn't feel obligated to check up on everyone I knew, to scroll endlessly through my newsfeed, to comment on a friend's new status or photo. I didn't feel the need to obsess over each and every detail of my Facebook friends' lives or mine. Scrutiny of myself lessened and I have been able to enjoy my time and myself a little bit more. Quitting Facebook also allowed for me to find more positive ways to connect with people whether it be in person or online but in a more direct setting. I also found that I didn't have to update my status every day about what was happening in my life to keep people in the loop because honestly, people would survive without me telling them every detail about my usually ordinary day.
Ultimately, quitting Facebook has been one of the best and easiest decisions I've ever made. I'm happier. I'm freer. I'm able to enjoy my life more easily, the way it was meant to be, fully in the present and one moment at a time. Eventually I'd like to quit all social media or at the very least participate in a very limited manor regarding spreading positivity, love, and art.
(It's worth noting that I do still have a Facebook fan 'page' that is run mostly by someone else but I generally only post my articles to it and there is no newsfeed attached. I personally post about once a week or every two weeks!)