Friday, January 17, 2014

Why is it so hard to say goodbye?

Saying goodbye to something or someone you depend on for security, look to for entertainment, or even rely on to cheer you up when you are down is not an easy task. Every relationship we have with things ranging from cars to phones to family, has its blessings and hardships. There is no relationship that doesn't put its stress on you in demand for comfort and compassion of their problems. This stress can come in the form of giving a shoulder to cry on to getting your car a new air filter or oil change. 

The relationship that we have created with social networking is different.

I do not think we are dependent on our relationship with Facebook like we are dependent on our mothers, brothers, or automobiles. We do not need these social network relationships to get through our daily task or make ends meet. 

We are addicted to their interaction. 

We are addicted to the irrelevant posts, pictures, and videos that entertain us. 

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This addiction is no different than the addiction to cigarettes or alcohol. We all know that nicotine is dangerous, and will only cause us harm in the long run, but yet the addiction remains. You forget about the negative effects of cigarettes because you are only fixated on the benefit. The relaxation of smoking, the oral fixation of smoking, the activity that gives you something to do on you 15 minute break from work. Not a single person is unaware of the negative effects of alcohol on the body. Everyone that drinks knows that there are no health benefits to alcohol, only liver damage, but yet, they continue to drink just to get the buzz, or numb the mind of the situations around them.

Just like all addictions, the addiction to social networks has minimal benefit to us in a societal setting. We are addicted to the news feed about what everyone that we know, and even some people that we don't, are doing. We have become satisfied and feel superior when someone we know are losing their hair, or their cars are not as nice, or are participating in activities that we feel like we are "above". All of this social media information may seem like it gives you a high similar to alcohol, but we have neglected to analyze the negative effects of this constant contact has on the stress levels or adrenal function in the body. 

The adrenal gland produces a hormone called Cortisol in response to stress. Stress can come in three forms, emotional, physical or chemical. The most crucial to the adrenal gland, and Cortisol levels is emotional stress.. If you are in constant contact, and you find your mood or demeanor affected by the drama that you read on social networks, you should be careful. Adrenal Fatigue is the primary step in developing thyroid dysfunction, hormone imbalances, and chronic fatigue syndrome. 

Addictions are hard to break. You develop neural pathways in the brain that only the thing you are addicted to can satisfy. Your body can be addicted to emotional stress and seek it to satisfy your desire to feel superior. The real time effects of using social media to make you feel better about yourself will never leave you in a better place at the end of the day, just like a White Russian will not help your health at the end of the day. 

Do not get me wrong, there are some healthy and beneficial things that can come from social media interactions. A Screwdriver mix drink has orange juice in it, right? You just need to figure out if you are at a level of unhealthy addiction to it.

If you find your mood change when you read the posts. If you find yourself losing touch of the personal interactions around you because you are plugged in. If you notice that most of your conversations are digital, it could be time to take a step back.

Using social media can be healthy, but you need to be sure you don't get to a point of unhealthy addiction. Make sure you spend more time each day with one on one interactions instead of digital interactions.

The feeling of freedom
I have been unplugged for almost a week. This is an image of my phone disconnecting from Facebook. Ironically, I still receive emails from Facebook that let me know how many friend requests I have, how many notifications, or even that someone poked me since I last logged in. (I didn't know you could still poke) Facebook is trying to keep me connected, which is just another reason that disconnecting is just so difficult.

Some say that considering I read this email means I am still connected, and in some ways I agree. But the truest feeling of freedom is being able to know that I have friend requests, I have been poked, I have 24 new messages, and I really don't care who they are from, or what they say. The people that truly want to talk to me still do, they just cannot use social media to do so. A friend request on Facebook does not mean I gained a new friend to me, it means someone is interested in seeing what I am doing or trying to show me what they are doing without making the effort to actually see me. 

I have constantly told myself that I need Facebook for my business.

To some extent, this is true. It is a great place to market the great results we get a New-Start Health Center. This is the hardest part of disconnecting. I know there are ways to keep a business account active without logging into my personal account, but I haven't figured it out yet.

For the last week, I have thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of not knowing what everyone is up to, what they like, or where they are checked in. It is the truest form of "Ignorance is Bliss!"