Every January, rather than pushing for a new resolution, I review my life and look for ways to declutter. It is so easy to get caught up in the cycle of adding more. More stuff, more apps, more podcasts, more, more, more. A few years ago, a friend challenged me to step away from all forms of media (except your local trusted newspaper) for a few weeks. I found that my mood improved, I was more focused, and I actually finished one of the books I had started months before. I enjoyed the experience so much, that now every January, I do not engage in social media. I invite you to consider joining me.
There are many benefits to social media regarding community, education, and keeping up to date with what is going on in the world. However, all this information can pose a risk to our mental and emotional health. There have been numerous studies that have found an increased connection between social media use and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and thoughts of self-harm and suicide. While not officially a diagnosis, social media addiction is gaining traction and may soon be utilized in helping people who are unable to fully function in society due to their dependence on the internet and social media.
For those of you who decided to join me this year, I’d like to recommend a few tips to help you be successful. The first tip is to remove the temptation by uninstalling the apps. I have uninstalled all social media apps from my phone. If I want to get on social media, I must go through my internet browser. This extra step is often enough to make me reconsider if I truly need to get on the site. Better yet, remove the phone altogether. Put your phone in another room when eating or going to bed so you can’t get online. This helps you to focus on those around you during those times. Another helpful action is to turn off all notifications, so the apps don’t constantly fight for your attention. Setting a timer or limit on your phone for certain apps also works. There are several applications that block apps for you. This works great for kids and those of us who have a hard time staying away from clickbait (I’m totally guilty of this). The final tip I have is to get a hobby. Read a book, start on a puzzle, or go for a walk. Having something else to do can really help you not think about what you are “missing” by not being online.
Speaking of walks, I’d like to invite you to come take a walk with me and some UTMB students on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. across the street from the UTMB fieldhouse as part of our inaugural Walk with a Doc Program. I’ll share more about this next week, but more info can be found at walkwithadoc.org.
Dr. Samuel Mathis is an assistant professor in The University of Texas Medical Branch’s Family Medicine Department.
Welcome to the discussion.
Internet forum rules ...
Real names required. No pseudonyms or partial names allowed. Stand behind what you post.
Keep it clean. Don't use obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don’t knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be brief. Keep posts to 150 words or less.
Edit yourself. No more than two posts per thread and stay on topic. Do not link to sites outside galvnews.com.
Be aware. All posts are property of The Daily News and may be republished in print.
Be proactive. Use the "Report" link on each comment to let us know of rule violations.