About six months ago I was logged into Facebook, scrolling from my newsfeed when I looked down and saw my 7-month-old son, Oliver, staring at me.
Each time I looked back at what I was reading on Facebook, he put his cute little face right in the way of me and my screen, and he’d smile until he got my attention.
About a month later, I deactivated my Facebook account.
As if Oliver wasn't enough reason that my attention was better served elsewhere, I decided to quit Facebook when I realized it wasn’t making me happy. I started noticing a pattern of feeling depressed the more I logged in and scrolled through my friend’s profile pages.
I had no idea how much the simple act of removing Facebook from my life would impact my family and well-being.
Here are 7 truly amazing things that happened as a result:
1. My relationship with my husband improved.
My relationship with my husband is better than it has ever been. We talk more, we touch more and we connect more. Psychology taught us that the six basic human needs are
But if we meet three or more of these needs using one potentially harmful vehicle (alcohol, exercise, eating, or Facebook for example), it becomes an addiction.
I was meeting my basic needs from social media, which tricked me into believing that I didn't need anything from my personal relationships. By blocking the Facebook vehicle to meet my needs, I was forced to meet them where I should have been all along — with my husband, whom I love dearly.
2. I started looking at other people in the eyes again.
I was having human interactions without really looking people in the eye, without even realizing it. Where you look with your eyes when you have a conversation, will suggest to someone whether or not you are being truthful or whether you are even interested in what the person is saying.
When most of your conversations involve looking at a computer screen or hand held device, it can start to feel like a violation to have some one really see you by looking directly at you. Notice how close you stand to people when you are speaking to them, do you look them in the eye or are you looking somewhere else?
3. I started having REAL friendships again.
I went on lunch dates, meet-ups and had REAL conversations. These are so much more fulfilling than messaging back and forth online, which I now consider to be just a placeholder for a real friendship. You can't grow real friendships over social media, but you sure can lose them.
Type one thing wrong and it can be taken out of context because there is no way to show real emotions, body language or tone. You can instantly lose credibility, respect and yes, even friends.
4. I stopped saying things that weren't genuine.
It's easy to hide behind a computer and say something that you would never have the guts to say otherwise? But then where would we get our daily dose of drama? If you don't have any drama in your life, you can always read about someone else's on social media.
I still catch myself sometimes composing dramatic Facebook posts in my brain, then realize with relief that I don't have to post my every thought, action or photo on display for the world to see. It can cause a lot of anxiety, wondering what people think about what you say, or how you look in your latest selfie.
5. My confidence and my self esteem improved.
Instead of being concerned with whether or not people were liking and sharing my posts and photos, I am loving myself more for who I am. I don't feel the need for validation from a little blue thumbs up.
When you are having conversations on social media, you have time to think about and prepare your response. While I see the value in composing your responses, there is a great deal of good that can come with going with your gut instinct instead of over-thinking. In business, you have to be able to think on your feet, negotiate, and go with your gut.
6. My business grew.
With all the extra hours each day and week that I'm not wasting on Facebook, I had more time to meet with clients, do public speaking, write my blog and grow my business. I could make more time to improve the quality of care that my business gives to our clients. Saying NO to Facebook meant I had enough time and space in my life for the important things that really matter.
7. I spent more quality time with my kids.
To reiterate, I hate to think just how many times I stared into a computer or device while my little ones asked for my attention. Now I take more time every day to talk to my kids, play tag in the back yard and build with Legos.
I've rocked them to sleep and looked into their eyes. We read five books at bedtime instead of just one. Now I know they will remember me as the mom who laughed with them and danced in the kitchen and wrestled on the floor, not the one who spent their childhood staring at Facebook and attempting to nurture false relationships.
The relationships that really matter are right in front of you.
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