I’ve read more articles than I can count about how social media is making us miserable and how we should all delete our accounts. Given that I already don’t use Twitter and removed Facebook from my phone years ago, I was curious to see if removing Instagram would make a huge difference in my life. I’ll preface this by saying that I tend to spend more time on YouTube and Reddit than on Instagram, so this experiment probably would’ve been more useful had I cut out all social media for a week. That said, here’s how it went.
For the first few days, I noticed that I really felt like I was missing out on what was happening in the world. That feeling that I used to have when I saw someone on an incredible vacation or having an amazing dinner was replaced by the fear that I no longer knew about things like the latest product launches from my favorite fitness companies or which puppy was now the cutest dog on the platform.
Then, about half way through the week, I totally forgot about Instagram all together. I wasn’t thinking about whether my meal was Istagrammable or whether our weekend activities were worth sharing via stories. This helped me enjoy things in the moment and reduced the stress of making my life “picture perfect”. On the other hand, the 30-45 minutes throughout the day that I used to spend scrolling Instagram were replaced with other mindless scrolling elsewhere. I had hoped that I would read, meditate, stretch, or walk more, but I just switched to a different mindless activity. I learned that how we spend our time is both our habits and our choices, and taking away the habit of Instagram didn’t automatically remove the habit of mindless scrolling.
Did removing Instagram making me happier? Ultimately, I think it did. It removed pressure from my day to day life and helped me stopped comparing my life to others’ highlight reels. That said, I still have more work to do using my time mindfully.