02 January 2019

Social Media: Control + Alt + Delete

Social Media: Control + Alt + Delete
by Troy Cady

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash
While it is possible to sustain a playful way of relating to social media, it is not always easy. Many people this time of year decide to intentionally limit their social media usage or cut it out altogether for a while (or permanently). Indeed, experts in the fields of mental, emotional, and spiritual health recommend as much.

Social media usage even has effects that can be detrimental to one’s physical health. Consider this list from a recent article by the BBC World Service.[i]

• Dopamine - A pleasure neurochemical linked with instant reward but also addiction. Technology is increasingly being designed to specifically trigger the release of dopamine.

• Adrenaline - Best known for regulating our responses in fight-or-flight situations, but also released by likes and pokes on social media.

• Cortisol - The hallmark of stressed-out, sleep-deprived, too-busy and distracted individuals.

• Oxytocin - Released when we have exchanges in a meaningful connection. It is generally healthy but online predators can tap into its effects to abuse their victim's trust.

• Serotonin - Released when we are creative, connected, and contributing.

• Endorphins - The "painkiller" of the body. Released when we experience mindfulness, meditation, gratitude, and cardiovascular exercise.

Those who limit or abstain from social media discover these alternatives are healthier:

Reading or listening to audiobooks (or podcasts)

Journaling, creative writing or sending hand-written letters

Drawing, painting or taking photographs

Exercising or playing sports; even going for a short 15-minute walk can do wonders

Playing unplugged games

Working with your hands: needlework, gardening, crafts, sculpture

Spending time with a friend

Taking a class to learn a new skill or to learn about a topic of interest to you

Dancing or listening to live music—there are plenty of free options available if you look for them

Practicing prayer, meditation or simple breathing exercises

Participating in a local church or other faith community

Volunteering for a good cause

Trying out some new recipes

Attending a storytelling group that meets weekly or monthly (they are not as threatening as you might imagine!)

As you set goals for healthy living in 2019, what real-life practices feel life-giving to you? Even choosing just one or two things to do regularly can make a world of difference. PlayFull encourages you to live a life beyond the digital world; you’ll thank yourself for it!

And, yes: we’re aware of the irony that we just used social media to post these thoughts! :-)

[i] List by Pablo Uchoa, “Why a ‘tech diet’ should be your New Year’s resolution,” BBC World Service. Source:  http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20181227-why-a-tech-diet-should-be-your-new-years-resolution. Accessed: January 2, 2019.

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