MY INSTAGRAM EXPERIMENT
Inspired by Light Watkins, last month I decided to take a month off my personal Instagram. Why? Because I found the noise getting to be too loud, disorienting and distracting. It was the perfect experiment to see how I would feel off it. And a chance to see if I would have more time to do other things. So October has been the month of my “Unexpected Instagram Experiment.”
To be clear, I wasn’t spending hours and hours continuously scrolling Instagram. In the evenings and on weekends I’d spend about 20 minutes. That wasn’t the issue. The problem was the unconscious sporadic checking in on it throughout the day that would take me for a ride I didn’t want or choose. I chose to scroll, but wasn’t happy with the side effects that it was having on me as a result. I actually wrote another post titled “Instagram Bores Me, But I Keep Checking It”! so I guess this has been a “thing” for a while.
Today, the results are in. And I was a little surprised by the findings. I’m sharing them here in case it’s helpful for you!
QUIETING THE NOISE
The main improvement I saw was- silence. Silence in a world where everything can be constant, confusing, overwhelming, and disorienting. In my Vedic Meditation practice we have a saying that says- “Rooted in being, then perform action.” The idea behind this is that every time you meditate (and we do it twice daily for 20 minutes), you drop down into the zone of just Being (physicists call this the Quantum Field). This is the place where all information and possibilities exist. When you can quiet your mind and drop down into this field, you are going straight to the source for answers and guidance. And the best part is that absolutely ZERO thinking is involved.
So what happens when you don’t do this? And instead of operating from a place of Being, you operate from a place of constant thoughts and noise? Well for one, life is a whole lot more stressful. I also believe that with less clarity, you are more prone to making poorer choices. And perhaps more importantly and the reason why I sit down to meditate twice daily and quiet my monkey mind- because I don’t want to miss one single sign the Universe is sending my way.
What was happening to me with Instagram was that I’d find myself going to it while waiting for an elevator or while waiting for a file on my computer to open. Based on what showed up in my feed, my mood or thoughts would become altered and take me out of whatever state of mind I was in. Which is the state that I needed to be in at that moment and perhaps if I stayed there, it would have taken me to a better place, answer or solution. But because I decided to “check in” on Instagram, I took an emotional left turn I had no control over. And that sucked.
SOCIAL MEDIA SILENCE CAN BE ISOLATING AND LONELY
So there I was- much more grounded and in touch with my emotions and feelings now that they weren’t being hijacked any more. Able to focus and be more and more rooted in Being because I had cut out “the noise”. And then a funny thing happened… My unexpected Instagram experiment became just that- unexpected.
I realized that I felt a little lonely and isolated. And that made me realize that whether we like it or not, the world of Instagram is a digital world that exists. Where meaningful information is shared. And by cutting it off, it’s as if you cut off a part of your worldly experience and the existence of others. And that can feel isolating.
So as with all things in life, my conclusion is that there are both good and bad things about Instagram. It is up to us to decide what those are and how we want to manage them.
THE BEST WAY FORWARD
Starting today, for me it means:
- Deleting accounts that bring a lot of noise and take me out of my emotional state (a social media diet of sorts)
- Going to Instagram and scrolling very intentionally. Not in the middle of my day or when I’m in the middle of another task. Maybe not even when I’ve left a meeting and am waiting for the elevator. But most likely, in the evenings or on the weekends when I’m done with work or a task and want to check in.
Funnily enough, it means being very intentional about my Instagram use and giving it my full attention when I’m on there. Which is pretty ironic considering it can be seen as a digital distraction.
How do you feel about Instagram and how does it make you feel? Have you ever experimented by going off of it? What did you experience? Comment below!