Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

Facebook Detox Helped Me Reclaim My Life

Guess what? You’re probably not missing anything.

Social media fasts are gaining popularity as people pursue simplicity. I know digital decluttering is essential for me. The scrolling, the notifications — they can become addictive if I’m not careful.

There’s science on this. Amazing stuff, really. Scientific American reports that “Humans have a fundamental need to belong and a fundamental desire for social status. As a result, our brains treat information about ourselves like a reward” (McCarthy-Jones 1). In essence, we are getting high on social media interaction.

The reason is that getting notifications on social media activates little shots of dopamine, which our brains like. Digital validation produces the feel-good effect. This is how we end up down the rabbit hole, scrolling away for longer than we care to admit.

I’ve done a number of social media fasts over the years for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s a mental and spiritual reset for the new year. Others, I become aware of my unhealthy preoccupation with it and purpose to get off the sauce so I can focus on the here and now.

My drug of choice was Facebook, so I decided to delete the app off my phone. My theory was that if I checked it only intermittently on my laptop, I would stay up to date without getting sucked into Zuckerburg’s dopamine-driven vortex.

This experiment had a surprising outcome. When I went on Facebook once or twice a week, I realized that pretty much nothing was happening there. I had scores of notifications about a whole lot of nothing.

Maybe I was tagged in a few pictures with family. Otherwise, no information of consequence came across my feed. I was over it, disgusted by the amount of time I’d wasted prior to ditching it.

In addition to curing my FOMO and dopamine overload, I began to get more done around the house. My word count for writing nudged up. I was paying more attention to my actual life instead of a superficial digital one.

I was paying more attention to my actual life instead of a superficial digital one.

Facebook detox has been key in removing extraneous stimuli from my life. Its constant barrage of dings and buzzes was all-consuming. I had to reduce the noise and mental clutter because my life is already fraught with sensory overload. Kicking Facebook to the curb was a much-needed action, even more beneficial than I could have anticipated.

By keeping the app off of my phone, I’m much less likely to check it. The next step I’m considering is keeping my phone in a designated place when I’m at home. This will allow me to go about my household activities with even fewer distractions.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

The default practice of fishing my phone out of my pocket to check email or other social media will be diminished. This will buy me even more time back from the jaws of the digital monster. The time I gain will be for family, writing, or catching up on projects at home.

Cutting the tether to Facebook has allowed me to spend more actual facetime with the faces I love. It’s been transformational — give it a go and you’ll see. You won’t be losing much by pressing the delete button but will gain much more than you give up.