Social Media Detox is a Necessity

How many times do you actually pick up your phone unconsciously, thinking that you got a new notification? Many times we feel the vibration of our phones in our pockets but upon checking, we realize there were none. With the convenience of having the world on our fingertips, we don’t use it for anything great normally.

Mindlessly scrolling through Facebook while waiting for your order to arrive at the restaurant or checking Instagram while the cab arrives has become some of our secondary nature. It gets so engraved in our heads that we don’t even need to look at our phone to open one of these social media apps, our fingers do the talking. But is this really good? Well, not really. The reason why we are or get so addicted to social media is because our brain releases a compound called dopamine which gives us a feeling of reward. This is the same compound that is found in drugs that gets us addicted to them.

The constant need to scroll through what others whom we know are up to is similar to constantly comparing our lives to that of our neighbours. This constant exposure leads us to a downward spiral of some really bad mental places.

Many times these leads us to feelings of depression and sadness which gets even more aggravated by seeing a post of someone who always lets you down or someone traveling to an exotic location where you always wanted to travel. Moreover this constant comparison often makes us feel like we are not living our best life (which is not true).

Let’s see some more reasons why it is important to cut the time spent on social media and also cutting it out of our lives eventually.

  1. It gives a sense of fake reality

We all know nobody is perfect so, why do we expect that when posting something online? Highly facetun-ed and photoshopp-ed images can make everything look cardboard-cut-out perfect which is far different from the reality.

  1. It is a constant source of unhappiness

Being blinded by what somebody might be doing, visiting or even wearing may just make us feel we are not good enough which is not the case. Maybe they borrowed that dress and somebody took them to a fancy restaurant.

  1. It impacts mental peace

Maybe you scroll through the profile of your school bully or a toxic friend. It will scratch a wrong spot and you would get a flashback of some really unpleasant memories which is not at all worth it.

  1. It makes us less productive

Human minds are not meant for multi-tasking so, a looking at a few posts here and there may actually make you spend extra time at your desk.

  1. It makes us lose focus

With a constant urge to check our phones, we cannot focus on something for a long time which keeps us constantly distracted.

So go ahead and challenge yourself to take a break from social media. Delete all the apps from your phone and saved passwords from your browser. It is difficult on the first few days but once erased, trust me you would achieve a sense of great tranquillity.

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The Power of Letting It Go

Let it go seems to be one of the most used statement these days be it consciously or sub-consciously uttered from our mouths. But, there is more to it than merely what we assume it to be on the surface.

Why is this so powerful? It has an ability to free you from the some of the toughest battles you may be facing in your head. The countless thoughts making your head foggy and stopping you from making peace with a lot of things in your life is crucial for mental wellbeing.

Why do we ignore this and not make it a priority even though the on-going runs of thoughts makes us anxious and sometimes powerless? It is because mental health is considered such a taboo in our society that we never gave it a chance to linger in our heads. Talking about such stuff makes us uncomfortable and vulnerable to what others may label us. Is it worth to keep ourselves on stake for what others may think about us? NO, absolutely not!

So if you are way bothered by what others may be thinking, kindly let that thought go into flames for your own good. This life is way too precious to let ourselves be held by what others may be thinking about anyone in this world. Pro-tip: people are so self-centred and self-consumed that they barely care about anyone TBH!

Let’s dive into how we can benefit from these three humble words. In order to successfully achieve this, follow the steps below.

  1. Write it down.

As simple it is, it is one of the most neglected steps towards a happy and healthy mind. Many times we have an endless cycle of thoughts running in our head which makes us lose us our true focus. So go ahead grab a notebook and a pen and sit in a corner and brain dump everything that has been going on because it gives you a clean canvas to start everything with a fresh perspective.

  1. Get moving.

Most of the times if we are continuously reminded of something that we are trying to move on from but can’t, it is because we are giving our mind enough time to wander. So get up and take a break or do the task that needs to be done and break the thought cycle.

  1. Get rid of physical items.

If something reminds you of someone or some moment that was unpleasant, get rid of everything that sparks that unpleasant thought. Considering the level of discomfort it brings, consider getting rid of some physical items forever. But if it is of loss or something sentimental, keep it somewhere where it is hidden and handle it when the hard feelings pass.

  1. Create your own happy place

Take a moment and think what your ideal spot looks like, maybe a calming living space or clutter- free bedroom. Whatever it is for you take some time and try achieving it little by little and eventually you will create it.

I hope some of these tips help you get past the feeling of being stuck and help you living a happy and fulfilling life.

Prepare Your Master Plan

I stood petrified with the doors of my closet wide open, glancing at the mess it was and having no idea how I reached this stage…‘When did it get so bad?’ I asked myself analyzing the situation and then followed the second question ‘how am I going to clear it out?’

Sitting on the floor with piles of stuff everywhere and having no idea how I should go forward about it, I thought of how many things here have not even seen the light of the day once? If you have ever counted the amount of ‘things’ that you actually own, the numbers may surprise you!

So why do we hit spots like this and what is it telling us? Months of shopping because it was on ‘sale’ and ignoring all the shopping bags dumped at the corner of the room and back shelves of closet were not just ignorance but something more than that, it was a reflection of my mental state. Exhausted with assignments and college stuff these shopping trips were not a necessity or sometimes even a requirement but it had become a source of instant gratification.

Finding a point to start, I was stacking the books one moment and folding clothes the other. Constant distraction and no system made this process frustrating and I was burnt out in less than thirty minutes. Sorting items by type should make this process easier I told myself and I started doing it…

Often times the reason why we never want to take action about situations like these is because we have no ideas about the starting point. The thought of digging through all the items and the anxiety related to it is enough to never let us start things like this.

So how shall we start it? It is simple but requires a bit of effort. Start by sorting items by its category and collect all the things of the same category in one place. Marie Kondo in her Konmari method mentions to collect all the items of the same category from all around your home in one place rather than going from room to room. The exception in this being clothes in laundry and in use.

Though Konmari method has an entire sequence on the way you should start this, I have felt it is easier to start by dividing things in two categories: sentimental and non-sentimental pieces. We will start non-sentimental items first.

A sentimental item could be anything from a pen that you dad gave or the cup that belonged to your great grandmother or maybe a picture of your loved one who is not there with you anymore. It is very important to do this step because in most of the situations, these are the things we refer to as prized possessions.

A non-sentimental item on the other hand is just the things that we use and require but we never got attached to it. The composition notebook to practice writing, a bunch of free pens from seminar and events or the flash drive your company gave you.

So go ahead and collect one of these two things in one place, books or clothes and I will write more about tackling them in my next post.

How to discover your personal Minimalism journey

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You might have got some idea about minimalism by now and you might be curious to see if this is applicable in your life as well. As I previously mentioned, it is different for everyone and everybody reaches their destinations at different times.

It is the middle March 2016, semester finals would start in a months’ time and I needed to move… It was the thought of moving which struck a chord in my head and I realized all the items that I have accumulated over the years had to be taken in serious consideration. It ranged from small furniture, books, clothes and dishware to name a few. In that brief moment, I realized how much stuff I had actually owned and I had to do something about it ASAP!

How many times do we actually take a moment to realize how much stuff we actually own and how much of it might not have been used even once? (Don’t forget those unopened packages at the back of your closets that you completely forgot existed!)  Let’s admit it, we have all been at this position at least once in our life and completely dreaded that feeling.

It only makes me wonder, ‘how do we reach this stage even though we know we completely hate it?’ This is where the life aspect of minimalism comes into play.

Have you ever observed when you are stressed or not at your best mental state, the surroundings near you gets very messy and un-organized? Stacks of paper and other stuff at your desk, things thrown on the floor and every place of your home looks not at its best. Why does this happen? It is because your current space is a reflection of your current mental state. Observe this for yourself to get a better idea.

So coming back to the main question, ‘how do I start minimalism?’

Before you do anything else, ask yourself why you want to start it. Is it because you don’t feel good about all the things that you own? Or the thought of opening a closet/garage full of stuff gives you anxiety? Or maybe you want to move to a smaller space and save money to travel? Whatever it is for you, remember it will only bring peace to you so the sooner you start the better.

Go ahead, open all the doors, cabinets and other areas of your house where stuff gets accumulated and get a fair idea of all the things that you actually own.

Let this process bring you calm similar to that of a peaceful meditation session.

Minimalism – What is it, and is it worth the hype?

Imagine this, scrolling through social media you see articles like ‘How minimalism changed my life’ or ‘How I saved $$$ after switching to minimalism’ or ‘How minimalism helped me find my true purpose in life’ to name a few. As cliché as they may sound, it only makes me wonder if any of this is actually true? If they are, how easy is it to achieve them in real life?

It all started one Sunday evening of January back in 2016 when I was mindlessly scrolling through YouTube. I was one of those stressed college kids on their last semester of college overworked with assignments and pressure of getting a job and on a verge of a mental breakdown (maybe). I came across a video on how de-cluttering my wardrobe and adopting a minimalist approach to fashion helped me with anxiety. Reading the title made me curious as how clearing out your clothes was related to relieve anxiety, which pushed me into the rabbit hole of videos about minimalism and de-cluttering on YouTube.

In the course of a few weeks I observed that watching these contents and videos became a personal favourite of mine and I really looked forward to read about it as well. This deep interest of minimalism finally led me to the most talked about book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo. After reading it, I would describe it as a step by step guide to how you can achieve minimalism in every part of your home and life (I would address the life part in coming posts.)

“What was it that I became so fond of about this topic?” I asked myself and it made me realize that there was a very calming effect after I watched a few pictures or videos about it. Imagine this; you are surrounded by only the things that you really, really love. All your prized possessions from years of travel carefully curated in a space that you call your own sanctuary. Won’t it stir a feeling like that when you enter a spa? Got a tingling sensation right?

Now going back to the main question also being the topic of this post; ‘What is minimalism?’ 

After reading a fair amount of articles and starting my own personal journey about it I can tell you one thing, it does not have a fixed definition or periphery. Everyone who talks about it has a different perspective about it. But I can summarize what I have observed and learnt so far. “Minimalism is a conscious awareness of all the materialistic possessions you own and having a brief idea of how much of everything is right for you. It is striking a perfect balance between the numbers that gets your life moving smooth but also not so much that it’s overwhelming.”                                               

As I mentioned above the definition has a broad scope and cannot be pin pointed a just one thing. Let’s take an example; you go to work 5 days a week and twice a week to the gym and do your laundry once a week. In this case owning 7 pairs of socks would be ideal to have a smooth day to day life. But this scenario would be slightly different for someone who does not wear shoes so often or does their laundry twice or thrice per week.

The second part of the title: ‘Is minimalism worth the hype?’

I personally believe it is worth it but it should not be rubbed on people’s faces so much that they get bugged just by hearing the word minimalism. So will starting the ‘minimal life’ will make you happy, rich and eventually change your life? Yes, it will! But like starting anything such as a healthy eating habit or exercise, it will take time and effort to reach your destination and eventually what you really wanted.

Feeling the urge to try it now? Go ahead and start not because it is what everyone on Instagram is talking about, but because you want it for your own good.