Is Too Much Social Media Putting Your Nervous System on High Alert?
It Might be Time to Take a Stimuli Break. Here’s How.
The Internet has brought the world into our homes and has inundated us with a constant thread of news to absorb or ignore. Social media platforms have become a hub of information designed to fit our personal lens on reality. With the average of 3 hours a day spent on these platforms, one must question if this constant dopamine drip is a healthy activity or a complete waste of time.
It’s so easy when you have 15 minutes to spare to just open the apps and see what’s happening with your friends and family. It’s fun watching all the kids grow up and having cherished family moments. It’s nice to see friends sharing adventures and all the pets they love. As you mindlessly scroll you begin to drown out the ads that pop up in between every third post you see. But they must be having some sort of affect on your brain chemistry. Ad after ad sprinkled in with family and friends you get to appreciate from afar. Nothing too close, nothing too real, nothing to sincerely and honestly engage with.
It’s safe to judge and like from your couch while your brain feels scattered and your concentration dwindles.
Nervous System on High Alert!
This constant stream of stimuli has a direct affect on your nervous system. And as we are becoming more and more programmed by our devices to feel that immediate dopamine high, we are allowing side effects to creep in. Things like…
- Spending more and more time on social media.
- A quick 15-minute check-in turns into an hour-long scroll.
- Jumping from one social media account to the next out of boredom.
Today we can’t focus on one thing too long without looking for a new distraction, and this causes stress. And stress creates unhealthy pathways in your nervous system.
Stress and the Nervous System
We are all wired differently based on a variety of things from our past and our general demeanor, so these stress patterns will look different for everyone.
Stress enters our body as a result of our natural (and programmed) reactions to…
- How safe you feel
- Your sense of belonging
- Your sense of Identity
- How well you create or state personal boundaries
Social media platforms are a great place to express yourself with easy access to quotes and memes and images that can easily be shared. But only when someone feels safe to do so and this comes as a result of how our needs were met or not met during our developmental years.
When threatened, our body goes into a fight or flight state, and our stress skyrockets! When this sympathetic side of your nervous system is triggered you might find yourself easily frustrated, annoyed, and irritated by what you see online.
When you post something you might feel anxious or overstimulated by the responses. Or you may find yourself completely frozen in what to do in life so you use social media as a numbing agent to avoid responsibility and keep you in a procrastination mill.
These are all emergency responses caused by trauma in the body. In our busy modern world, we are becoming more and more accustomed to living in a continuous state of stress.
It’s time to push against our social media habits and use our time and energy towards the pursuit of becoming a more present and calm human.
It’s time to take a break from social media.
Taking time to step away from the constant momentum of social platforms is challenging because self-care doesn’t come with any instant rewards. It takes time to slow down and tune in to what you need.
For the next seven days instead of continually checking your phone, challenge yourself to take a break. It’s a great way to find out if you have an addiction and a refreshing way to identify where some self-care is needed.
Here are 3 tips to help you break the habit for seven days and unplug.
Create a Goal
We are so programmed to mindlessly check our social accounts that we may find ourselves on an hour-long drone without even realizing it. That’s why it is practical to create a goal for your social media break. Make it simple and write it out where you can see it. Consider things like…
When I feel the urge to check social media I will…
- Go for a walk
- Pick up an old hobby
- Write out the grocery list
- Clean the bathroom
- Call a friend
Depending on how much time you find yourself on social media it is a good idea to have a list of things to do instead to keep your mind productive. Try things that keep the phone out of your hands to avoid any accidental peeking.
Delete the Apps!
Okay before you freak out, I’m not suggesting deleting your accounts, just remove the app from sight. Create steps between you and the platform. If Instagram isn’t on your phone then you have to log into your computer to get into your account, and who checks Instagram on their computer?
At the end of the week, you can simply re-download the app and sign back in. (If you decide you want to.)
At the very least, turn off all notifications for the week. Set yourself up for success by removing those beeps, buzzes, and flashy notifications.
Announce the Break
This is helpful because you are openly letting others know of your intent. You can include things that let your support group know that you need their help. Encourage them to reach out to share news or go for a walk. It’s always nice to share your challenges and successes with others, and a break from social media is no different.
Find Your Breath
Taking a break from the socials helps you to be more present in your life and breathwork is a great way to help you engage in the moment. It’s simple and effective.
As part of your seven-day detox, I invite you to try breathwork. In my online course, Breath Mindset, I have students do breathwork 3 times a day, every day for one month.
- 5 minutes of energizing breathwork in the morning.
- 5 minutes of balancing breathwork in the afternoon.
- 5 minutes of calming breathwork in the evening.
By doing 15 minutes of breathwork a day you start to create a more balanced nervous system and the brain fog seems to dissipate into clarity.
If you are interested in learning more about breathwork, reach out! I have a ton of resources and it’s a great way to set your phone down and stay present in the moment.
Originally published at http://heart-lightstudios.com on September 13, 2022.