How Media Detox can Benefit you
One of the most impactful changes I made to my life in the last years is reducing my day-to-day media exposure. As modern humans, we are bombarded with information daily – news companies, blogs, video content creators, etc. are all competing for our attention. Just like everybody else, I would watch a bunch of YouTube videos every day, followed by checking up on the news and my favorite blogs. However, when I took a closer look at a lot of the information I was reading/watching/etc. and considered how it was impacting my daily life, I realized that most of it actually wasn’t at all (or at least not in a positive way). When was the last time knowledge obtained from a political article or a terrorist attack had any real impact on your life?
My social media feeds used to be littered with articles and memes on Donald Trump, environmental tragedies, crime, etc., but I had no impact on any of these thing and it wasn’t helping me in my everyday life either. Another thing that bothered me about the constant news and media that I was being bombarded with, was that a lot of information on current events is focused on negative things happening around the world, causing me in turn to become a more negative person.
Reducing the Amount of Information in your Life
Media detox is the concept of reducing the amount of information that you consume and making sure that what you do read/watch/listen to is actively helping you develop or tackle issues that effect your life. I mentioned one of my favorite ways in a previous article, which is to use browser extensions that hide common sources of clickbait or are likely to hook you into constant scrolling/browsing (social media feeds, YouTube recommendations, etc.). Blacklist certain websites that you constantly find yourself checking for no apparent reason. Another great habit is to create a few time boxed sessions (designating a period of time i.e. 30 minutes) to browsing the internet for new information. Keeping a time limit has helped me focus on gathering information that was actually useful for whatever I was trying to do and make more conscious decisions when I am browsing.
One of the most important aspects of media detox is developing self-control. If you have news or social media apps on your phone, disable the notifications so that you check them on your own terms. If you randomly happen to stumble upon an article that you might find useful or interesting, take the time to analyse whether it is going to help you with what you were just going to do. If it will, read it! If not, get into the habit of saving it for later rather than opening it right away, so you can read it when you feel like you have the time. At first, going on media detox will be quite hard as you are probably used to constantly checking the news, twitter, etc. For me it took about one month for it to feel perfectly normal.
“But I will appear stupid”
The most common argument against going on media detox is that people are worried about how they will look if they are not aware of some big current event that is going on. I can honestly tell you that this is nothing to worry about, for multiple reasons. The first is that if something big is happening and you are talking to people, chances are that it will come up in a conversation quite quickly after the event happened. You will then simply get the breakdown from your friend and are (at least partially) aware during your next conversation. Even if you do miss something big that you “should” know about, people might look at you a bit funny and then just explain it anyway. It’s important to realize that there are other aspects of your personality (being kind, polite, etc.) that carry significantly more weight than your knowledge of random facts or events.
“How can I make informed decisions when voting?”
Research and discuss options with people who’s opinions you respect, at least one week before the actual voting takes place.
I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of media detox! Perhaps you will make the decision to go on a similar path. If you do, I hope you are successful! There are many benefits – increased productivity, better mental health, less stress, etc.