A few days ago, I received a message from Mr. Naveen Sharma, founder of the yoga studio “Ashmayu Yoga” that he won’t be accessible on WhatsApp anymore. I wasn’t surprised at all. Today many people including senior citizens have become slaves of social media – WhatsApp and Facebook in particular. For many, the social media tool WhatsApp has become more of a nuisance.
In this article, we shall look at the perils of getting addicted to social media tools like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram etc. We shall also look at ways of staying away from these monsters that are causing psychosomatic illnesses to many Indians.
The Dangers of Addiction
Emotional Problems due to social media addiction:
We have read in newspapers about freak accidents involving youngsters who tried to take a selfie so that they could post the picture as their profile picture (DP is the most popular term). This craze is like intoxication. Sometimes it is so difficult to wean people away from them.
Most individuals listen to music while they are traveling in a bus or metro. However, there are also examples of people speaking on mobile phones or looking at WhatsApp messages while they are riding a bike or driving a car or waiting at traffic signals. Such individuals are not only causing a risk to themselves but also to others on the road.
Many people get dismayed when a message that they post on WhatsApp does not get the attention that they hope to get. This leads to feelings of frustration and helplessness. Students who keep a smartphone close by when they are studying will find it hard to concentrate.
Today parents have a great deal of stress trying to reason with their college-going children about “smart” use of smartphones.
Health issues due to social media addiction:
Excessive usage of smartphones can lead to unwanted hormonal changes in the body. Some doctors do not agree with this. However, research reports in the UK and USA are pointing out trends in this direction. A few years ago, The Week magazine reported that the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is becoming a lifestyle disease now mainly because of poor eating habits, lack of exercise and incessant use of smartphones. Many teenage girls and girls between the ages of 20-25 years are increasingly experiencing this syndrome. It is possible to correct this situation through a combination of a healthy diet and physical exercises like aerobics, walking, swimming and skipping.
Here are 7 ways to stay away from the social media trap and get into a mode of Digital Detox
1. Practice Yoga and breathing exercises
Yoga is God’s gift to mankind to live a healthy life. The amount spent on yoga must be considered as an investment for future health. Focus on your breath. It will dissipate the unhealthy and irrational thoughts that often inundate you. Always think positive and believe in the power of the Almighty. Devote a few minutes every day for prayers. Meditating for at least 15 minutes every day will have a beneficial and long-lasting impact on your health.
Yoga has an immensely beneficial impact on treating the Polycystic ovarian disorder. It is also beneficial for those who are suffering from diabetes, hypertension or disorder of thyroid glands. Yoga enables your body to relax – both physically and mentally and this actually expedites the healing process.
2. Have periodic “social media” fasts.
Have regular days in the week where you resolve that you will not switch on data. Nothing is more important than your health. For example, you can accept a resolution that you won’t look at social media on Mondays and Fridays or any other days of the week.
Actress Gul Panag recently revealed that switching off the data on her mobile phone was a great relaxation for her. This is true for most of us.
3. Set aside regular time for checking social media updates.
Many individuals are now setting aside a specific time for checking social media updates – say morning 9 to 10 am, afternoon 12 to 1, evenings 7 to 8 pm. This will ease your nerves instead of having a barrage of messages on your smartphone. With everyone trying to outdo another to digitally capture the attention of customers, it can be disturbing to have a regular stream of unwanted text messages, WhatsApp messages, and spam emails. The proliferation of food aggregator apps has led to a multitude of spam messages that cry for your attention.
4. Go for long walks.
Walking is the best form of aerobic exercise. Regular walking for 45 minutes a day will keep you physically fit. Contrary to what people think, walking can not only be rejuvenating but it can also be therapeutic. Walking helps an individual to stay connected with his self. Brilliant ideas have originated when people go for a jog or a walk. As an additional bonus, walking also helps you burn your calories.
5. Spend quality time with family.
Ensure that family members dine together at least once a day. Enjoy simple conversations over dinner. The family that eats together stays together!
6. Talk to people and maintain eye contact.
People working in the same office can convey their wishes to their colleagues by walking over to them instead of sending a WhatsApp message to the person sitting in the next cubicle. While talking to people, maintain eye contact. Express genuine interest in the other person.
7. Develop a healthy hobby that does not need the use of a smartphone.
How did people spend their spare time in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s or even 90’s? There was no smartphone then. Technology must be our slave and not vice versa. Develop healthy hobbies like listening to music, reading, writing, and gardening. Many are unaware that cooking can be therapeutic. Even men can learn to cook. Watching television cannot be called a hobby considering the trash that one is subjected to day in and day out. So, it is better to find your niche and cultivate a hobby that you love to do and is immensely engaging.
Stay away from the social media trap and you will find that benefits are far greater than what you ever imagined.