The average millennial checks his or her smartphone 43 times and spends 5.4 hours on social media per day (Entrepreneur). Does anyone else find that a little obsessive? I do, and I have been just as guilty of picking up my phone almost every half an hour to see what I have missed on social media.
Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever new platform is coming out next…I seem to love and enjoy them all. And just so it is clear, this isn’t just another “anti-social media” post. I don’t think social media is evil or bad. There are many benefits of social media in our culture. However, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing when it comes to how much social media we are consuming. That’s why I did what I did…
For the past 2 weeks I have taken a break from all social media. I deleted all the apps off my phone and have only checked 1-2 times via my computer to make sure no urgent messages came through (and to post this blog). I didn’t even announce it on social media, just straight up disappeared. No mindless scrolling, no notifications, no likes, no awkward Sanpchat zoom-ins of people, no having to choose the right filter, caption, or hashtag. Absolutely nothing…and it has been wonderful!
Life has been so much more meaningful and enjoyable the past few weeks. No little red circles with numbers to address. No FOMO (fear of missing out), yeah it is a real thing that our generation deals with. The amount of free time I have had is crazy and my phone’s daily battery life has went out the roof. I have really noticed a lot of positive fruit in my life from simply taking a break from social media for a season and would love for you to experience the same. Here are five reasons why taking a break might be a good thing:
5 Positive Effects of Taking a Break from Social Media
1. Greater focus
Less distractions = greater focus. It’s been incredible to see how just a little tweak can add so much effectiveness to our lives. Social media has a way of always keeping our heads spinning. Questions like “Who liked my picture”, “how many followers do I have now or who unfollowed me”, and “what have I missed out on since I’ve been gone”, never allow our minds to fully rest and focus. By eliminating these distractions, we can experience a whole new level of focus. I personally have found myself having better conversations with people (no notifications to look at) and have been much more effective at work with less social media distractions.
2. More quality time
Since I no longer have to pull my phone out of my pocket every 5 minutes to see what I have missed, I have been able to be more present in the moment. It’s crazy how social media can steal our thoughts, energy, emotions, and time away from the people who mean the most to us. The time I have been able to spend with my wife and kids has been so much more rich and meaningful. Uninterrupted quality time is hard to come by these days and must be fought for.
3. Less self-centered
Social media can be a great tool to connect with others and be a witness for Christ (when used right). On the other hand, social ME-dia can easily pour gasoline on the flame of narcissism in our lives. Selfies, likes, and followers can keep us constantly focused on ourselves and how we appear to others. Selfishness and pride are so unattractive, yet so easy to fall into on social media. There has definitely been less attention on myself during my break from social media which has helped me in this area. Less focus on yourself means more opportunity to focus on others.
4. Increased spiritual growth
With so much extra time on my hands, I have been able to read God’s word more, pray more, and journal and reflect on the current condition of my heart (and it has been so refreshing). I have found that by eliminating the noise of social media, you are able to hear much more clearly what God is speaking to your heart. During the first few days, everytime I would reach for my phone out of habit, I would put it back down and pray to God instead. When we are not so “social media conscious” we can be more “God conscious” which can bring incredible spiritual growth to our lives. (see also 10 Surprising Ways Your Phone Can Help You Grow Spiritually)
5. Better attitude
Since ditching the social media apps I have been in a more happy mood. When you are not constanting seeing everyone else’s highlight reel and comparing your life to theirs, you are able to enjoy your reality more. Without the 24/7 temptation to see what I am supposedly “missing out on”, I am way more content with the life I am living now. No unmet expectations of how many likes, views or comments I thought my post would get to ruin my mood. I’ve heard it said that your “Attitude determines your altitude.” Let’s not let social media hold us back and steal our joy.
My intention is not to force you to give up social media nor is it to judge you if you continue to use it. Social media is here to stay, but how we interact with it is totally up to us. I pray that you have been encouraged and challenged to analyze your social media use, and be honest of what your next steps need to be. For some, no break may be necessary. Maybe setting boundaries or adjusting notifications is the right thing for you. For others it’s time to stop the mindless scrolling and gain back control of your time. They say it takes 21 days in the natural to break a habit, so that is what I am shooting for. I will probably put the apps back on my phone in the near future, but with a renewed sense of focus and self-control.
The effects of taking a break from social media are probably different for each person, but you will never know until to try it. Why not go for it and see for yourself? See you on social media (maybe)?
[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus… Hebrews 12:2 Amplified