If you find yourself pressured to live up to the public lives of friends and family, or if you feel like you’re being bombarded with too much news and entertainment, consider a media detox. A detox doesn’t require you to unsubscribe from social media services or unplug your TV forever. Instead, think of it as a vacation from the overstimulation so many of us experience. Ask yourself which aspects of your media diet are causing more stress than they’re worth, and take a break from them for a little while. “In the same way we think about what we eat, we should think about what we read, what we’re seeing, what we’re engaging in, and what we’re interacting with every day,” Emma Watson told CNN in an interview about her selective social media use. If you’re not mindful of your media consumption and participation, it tends to pile up. When you detox, it’s a lot easier to identify which parts of your media diet are essential and which are only a burden. Another benefit of a media detox is that you’ll have more time to pursue new and dormant hobbies. Because most of us consume media in small chunks throughout the day, it’s easy to overlook how much that time adds up. All those hours you spend on Facebook could be used to start a garden, knit a quilt, or join a soccer league. Unless you have an unlimited supply of leisure time (and who does?), you need to be selective in the way you spend it. Remember, media isn’t the cause of all your ills. Used mindfully, it can actually increase happiness and satisfaction. The problem is that we are so mired in the media muck that we can’t get a perspective on how much is too much. A detox will allow you to reassess the media you’re consuming and build a better plan for the future. You can still keep up with your grandkids on Facebook, but it shouldn’t be the only way you interact with the world.
The Dangers of Overstimulation DO YOU NEED A MEDIA DETOX?
BEFORE With the current trend of getting TV, social media, and news alerts sent to our phones, we have access to more media than we could ever consume. While constant connectivity is a boon for many aspects of our lives, researchers are discovering that too much stimulation is cause for concern. One study in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that too much social comparison, spurred by the likes of Facebook and cable news, can lead to an increased risk of depression. AFTER
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