Social Media Hangovers: Disconnecting in Order to Connect

by Christine DeSadeleer Dec 7, 2009
Hangovers, expectation or otherwise, might do well to seek a little quiet, non-Twitter time.

Photo: vramak

Have you experienced “expectation hangover®” (yes, it is trademarked) yet?

Well, if you are in your mid-20s, actually have a job (or don’t have one), which you attempt to balance with a social/family life, you are probably suffering from it. At least according to writer Christine Hassler.

Much like the vomit that you were trying your best to hold down the morning after a couple of neon-colored drinks followed by a six-pack of the Beast, the EH is basically a “group of undesirable feelings that arise when a desired result isn’t met.”

In other words, it’s the job you kinda hate, the relationship that isn’t living up to the dream, the trips you aren’t taking. As a life coach, Hassler prompts people to do everything from suck it up, lower your expectations, or start looking elsewhere.

Well, it looks like meditation might be providing the “elsewhere.”

According to a recent Boston Globe article, the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA is pulling in the 20s-crowd like they were serving free microbrews and tapas. Week long silent meditation retreats are apparently all the rage as a way to step away from the cell phones, the iPods, and the status updates, among other things (like, you know – work):

At a time when homework or job pressures and the likes of Facebook and Twitter compete for attention throughout the day, meditation groups say an increasing number of young adults are signing up for retreats and classes, seeking a temporary escape, a haven to reconnect with their thoughts.

Wait, that means no iPhone? Even on vibrate?

Technology as Soul-Suckage

The interesting thing is, I don’t believe we think often enough about the implications of all the “fun” and seemingly “connective” technology in our life – how the faster this technology gets, the more it takes us outside of ourselves. Social media becomes work, something we do into the wee-hours of the night, and our sleep – and soul – suffers in the process.

In the Globe article, one of the retreat leaders, Rebecca Bradshaw, notes:

Young people are much more stressed out than people 20, 30 years ago…we have a fast-paced and alienating culture.

Sure, it’s kind of mind-boggling to read the news online, write about it on your blog, tweet it, link it on Facebook, check Twitter and Facebook, where you come across other articles and other blogs which are undyingly stimulating, and then start the whole process over again. Oh, and get that report to your boss by 1pm (side gig, of course).

I have no doubt that our ever increasing fast-paced world is why so many of us are drawn to outer travel. It promotes reconnection, both with others and ourselves.

What about our inner travel? It needs backup too, and on a daily basis.

But how is this reconnection being affected by having a laptop with us wherever we go, and updating our statuses anywhere from our wedding “I do” to tweeting from the ends of the Earth? And what about our inner travel? It needs backup too, and on a daily basis, because most of us aren’t able to constantly move from place to place.

So, hmmm, possibly the expectation hangover (yes, yes, TM) can be cured less from a “suck it up” perspective and more from a “disconnect from that which disconnects you” perspective. On that note, I’m shutting down the computer to sit for a while, and will attempt to “let go” of any humorous status updates running through my brain.

Do you think that social media impacts your overall well-being? Share your thoughts below.

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