I wanted to show up on Instagram this week as it was Mental Health Awareness Week, and whilst it makes me sad that it needs an 'awareness week' you've gotta be grateful that times are (slowly) changing, right? I only have the headspace for one of those things at a time so I had to make a choice, basically.
Anyways that wasn't my point, after not using Instagram for a month I was probably in the best place I've ever been to take an objective look at how it affects you, and I thought I'd try and get my thoughts down here?
The first thing to say is that I think I enjoyed it. Was cool to see what's going down, a few of my fav accounts have had little growth spurts which is always lush to see, and I felt like I had something to contribute again - all pretty positive stuff.
But... then I realised that that's what it wants you to think.
Once I removed my dopamine-tinted-glassed I was able to see some of the other bits and pieces that are buried beneath the gloss:
1) My usage went up pretty dramatically over the week. on Monday, the first time I looked at it was to do my post at 4pm then I probably checked it twice more that evening to reply to comments. By Thursday I was checking it whilst still in bed in the AM and even found myself 'being active' before I posted in a loose attempt to get my post out to more people.
2) On Monday and Tuesday I wasn't interested in stories but by Wednesday they were back on the menu (presumably a subconscious decision to try and keep the dopamine hits coming in)
3) It disrupted my sleeping. By Friday I had to get some sort of sleep hygiene routine together. Phones on DND and in the other room at 8:30pm, blue light glasses on, and meditation before sleep
4) Even in our beautiful corner of the internet, there is still a lot to take in and ultimately deal with. It def affected my equilibrium, so many different topics fighting for your attention, and headspace is hectic as fuck.
5) Concentration span shortened significantly, I was reaching for my phone every ten minutes by Friday.
So, in summary, it was fun, and I definitely enjoyed it, but at what cost I guess? All of that happened over 5 days (busy mind, disrupted sleep, lack of concentration, chasing likes, etc, etc) and we know that the more time you spend on these platforms, the more time they have to manipulate your behavior.
I'm gonna try going 2:5 each week. This week showed me that the first 2 days were where most of the enjoyment was before the bad habits kicked in, so I wonder if that would be the same on a week-to-week basis?
I know people think I bang on about this shit like a boring old man, but I find it absolutely fascinating, and being the very definition of 'dopamine-driven' I feel like I'm a good case study...
Like it or not, if you use Instagram or Facebook, it's doing the same to you to some extent, the only question really is whether you choose to acknowledge it or not?
Anyway, have a lovely Sunday people, and see you next weekend for a catch-up on the gram.