We’ve all heard the recent buzz on how our smartphones are bad for our mental health. From the constant comparisons of ourselves to edited models on Instagram, trying to compete with strangers to be the next trending “meme”, or getting anxious when nobody texts you for an hour – I’ll admit, I’m very guilty of this! The first thing I do every morning is grab my phone and hope to see my lock screen flooded with notifications. Being in college, my so-called “down-time” is scrolling through my social media timelines and sharing photos.
Unfortunately, this is how my Generation [Generation Z] was brought up. We are the first generation to grow up online; we grew up with every iteration of social media, “living out our lives in pixels” since the time we could walk. Because of this, anxiety and depression rates have skyrocketed. It’s come to the point where people are now speaking out, warning others about the risks of social media and smartphone addictions. A study commissioned by Digital Awareness UK, reveals that 63% of schoolchildren [in England] admit that they would not care if it [social media] didn’t exist, 71% also revealed that they’d taken temporary digital detoxes to escape the negative effects of social media.
The bottom line is: Social media can cause this feeling of inferiority among today’s youth. Social media can be comparable to those renowned stereotypical beauty magazines…only worse. Imagine yourself walking in Times Square in New York City, seeing beautiful models on a billboard showcasing the latest Victoria’s Secret bombshell perfume. You might feel a shred of inferiority, causing you to start questioning your own appearance. Now today’s reality is you’ll open up your smartphone, to find hundreds more of these “bombshell billboards” that make you feel this way on a daily basis, likely multiple times a day. How can you get around this? In real-life perhaps you’d just elect to “not look”. The internet today has made it very difficult for us to just elect not to look, so what are some work arounds?
Here are three new ways that you can do you best to get around this, while being mindful of your mental wellness on the daily. Getting into these habits will help you detoxify your smartphone for good!
Firstly, to make your smartphone a more positive atmosphere, we need to bring a little bit of Marie Kondo’s mantra into this process! Go through all your social media pages and pick out the accounts that simply don’t bring you joy. These are the questions you should ask yourself: Does this account make me feel good when I see their posts? Do I feel safe following this account? Do I agree with the message that this account is spreading? If all your answers to these questions are “no” then go ahead and unfollow them.
Another factor to consider would be your level of engagement with these accounts. Do you truly enjoy their posts? Are they informative? Do they make you laugh or entertain you in some way? If so, continue following them because that means they bring you positivity in some way! Over time, you will see that by unfollowing certain accounts your social media will become a more positive environment to enjoy daily.
One of my guilty pleasures is plugging in my phone right next to my bed and finding myself scrolling the internet 3 hours past my bedtime. Not only is this habit bad for your sleep schedule, but it’s horrible for your mental health! A better alternative is to leave your phone in a different room while you sleep so that you don’t end up checking work emails at 3:00am and triggering anxiety prior to sleeping. By doing this, you will notice a huge difference in your sleep schedule. This will ensure that your relationship with your smartphone stays healthy!
My favourite app for emotional wellness is called Reset Zone! Reset Zone provides one minute tips and tools from real practitioners to help you reset your emotions. My favorite part about the app is that you receive different videos depending on how intensely you are feeling that certain emotion! By downloading wellness apps, you are setting a positive tone for your daily smartphone experience, and it also serves as a great tool for calming down daily anxiety or stress triggers!
So back to the bottom line; social media causes some to feel a sense of inferiority at times… However, there are ways to avoid this feeling. It all depends on how you go about your smartphone usage, and what content you surround yourself with!
Artemiz Rezvanifar was an intern with Reset Zone throughout the Summer of 2019. She is a full-time student, currently studying Communications at University. She’s an avid #ResetZoneApp user and an occasional Reset Zone Guest Blogger. You may spot her at Reset Zone events or at a Reset Zone booth – Make sure you stop to say hi!