3 Reasons to Become a Digital Minimalist

3 Reasons to Become a Digital Minimalist

 

1. WE NEED MEANINGFUL, FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTIONS

Our brains literally evolved to be sensitive to other humans. We are experts at noticing minute changes in other humans’ faces, voices, and bodies. Interactions over the cell phone—specifically those that remove interacting with a human voice or face—completely flattens that rich, dynamic experience. So, two things happen: one, we’re not able to flex and train our amazing ability to communicate with each other; and two, we lose the richness and depth and sometimes completely misunderstand what we’re trying to say. These interactions are vital to our basic human functioning—and we don’t just kinda sort of want to be with other people. We need it

There is so much more to say here and so little space. We’re more civil when we can see the pain we can cause each other. We’re happier when we connect meaningfully with each other. We can share the good, the bad, and the ugly with each other when we take the time—instead of exclusively seeing each other’s perfectly curated lives. I really believe that meaningful interactions with each other will maintain and repair the fabric of our society.

2. YOUR TIME AND ATTENTION = $$ FOR BIG CORPORATIONS

Your time and attention—and by extension, your eyes—have been commodified and monetized. Social media companies design apps and platforms to be addicting, to encourage you to keep scrolling, watching, and absorbing content. By scrolling mindlessly through Instagram or falling into the YouTube rabbit hole, you are making those big companies money at the expense of your time, well-being, and attention.

Here is the question to ask yourself: What are you sacrificing at the altar of social media? That book you want to write? The new recipe you want to try? A meaningful lunch with a good friend? The answer is different for each of us, but the answer is vitally important to your well-being. I wonder about the time poured into social media—and what, as a society, are we collectively losing?

3. YOUR MENTAL HEALTH TAKES A HIT

Research suggests that people who spend more time on social media have worse mental health. After all, comparison is the thief of joy. Yes, social media does let you connect with friends and family. Yes, there are positives about social media. But when it is used as a substitute for meaningful interaction, when it is as used as a time suck, when it is a place to go to numb ourselves, when we use it to avoid feeling strong emotions, then social media can be a really unhelpful place.

The less time I spent on Instagram, the more I realized that I was consuming mind-numbing videos and content that wasn’t adding anything of value to my life. In fact, I am almost certain it was making my brain feel worse. I was comparing myself to other influencers; I was compulsively checking likes and traffic; I was watching way too many Taylor Swift videos. None of that was adding any great value to my life. Now that I’ve deleted Instagram off my phone and limit my use to my laptop, I have been reading and writing more. Overall, the less time I spend on the Internet, the less goofy my brain feels. The only way I can describe it is: I feel more whole, excited, and present in my own life. 

Again, how you choose to interact with social media is your choice. You get to pick what benefits you get from it, and you get to figure out what the big negatives. It’s all a personal choice. Again, I still enjoy social media. I like connecting with friends and family on social media platforms. I like Baby Yoda memes as much as the next Star Wars nerd. However, in this month of intentionally choosing how and when I consume social media, I’ve found a lot of peace, calm, and creativity. Now, the question to ask yourself is: what do I have to gain from intentionally and mindfully engaging with social media?

FURTHER READING

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