Why do I no longer use Instagram?

Survival on the internet is an anxious search for eyeballs, clicks and likes. I deleted my Instagram app and here is how it helped me improved my mood.

I had been thinking for several months already about whether I should keep my profile on Instagram. At times it seemed like a good idea, but the next second I concluded that it would be fatal. Do I need that showcase? What performance am I putting on? How much am I slaving away? What other activities am I going to neglect because of scrolling? And more importantly: how many selfies are too many?

Due to covid, it’s no surprise that the last months were pretty rough times for me personally. I was too sad or too tired or too bored to do much of anything. It was hard to focus and my feelings were constantly up and down. Besides that, social media only amplified my anxiety and I can no longer cope with anything aggravating restlessness. As a result, a couple weeks ago, I decided to delete the Instagram app on my mobile phone. There are a lot of reasons why you might delete Instagram: I was tired of the social media addiction, but owned by Facebook, Instagram has its own privacy and political issues why someone might choose to delete their account.

Fading away from the social media landscape has given me the opportunity to realise how my thumb, impulsively and subconsciously, wants to open the app. Furthermore, I often find myself reflecting on the consequences of disappearing from the digital world. Nevertheless, my general wellbeing improved too. Here is how detoxifying from Instagram has helped me lift up the spirits:

• The amount of useless information my brain processes is lower. As a result, I feel less anxiety, I focus better while studying and my sleep quality has ameliorated.

• Moreover, I am less exposed to purchase processes. Marketing strategists, businesses and market researchers know the power of the app. The results of several studies show that the process of online buying decision process on Instagram differs from other e-commerce sites by amplifying the consumers impulse buying tendency on the concerning platform.

• And last but not least, I am reading more books and comparing myself less with the successful lives of others. Scrolling down stole quite an amount of time in my day as it was the first thing I did when waking up and the last one before sleeping. Now, when I need to relax or certain activity to distract, I would read some pages of a book and immerse myself in a fiction story instead of comparing my life to the ones that I spot on Instagram.

In case you are still dubious about whether to detoxify from Instagram, let me share with you some scientific research: the Royal Society for Public Health and the Young Health Movement studied a group of 1,500 British users aged between 14 and 24 to find out the impact of social media on mental health, especially on the development of anxiety disorders and depression. In the study, users recognised that Instagram, where they were exposed to all sorts of idealised photographs, had a very negative impact on their body image. In addition, a phenomenon known as FoMO – the Fear of Missing Out – was common. They were afraid that, by uninstalling it or not seeing the stories, they would miss out on something and that this would isolate them a bit from their peer group. According to the research, the most damaging network for mental health was Instagram, and it was mostly linked to anxiety, lack of sleep and depression.

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