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  • Angela H.

How To Quit Watching YouTube | Help & Advice



In 2022, I went through a lot of changes. I started to realize that social media was making me unhappy, noticing that I felt excited to use it, but afterwards I felt unhappy. I wondered why that was and started to research the effects of social media on mental health.


Through my research, I found that most of the social media that I participated in and consumed was just so I could compare myself to others and I felt unhappy with what was presented compared to my own life, not taking into consideration that it was all highly curated and edited to make whatever was presented to look its best.


I started to delete my social media pages, telling myself that I could always go back after a break, but after a few weeks, I noticed I was happier with my own life overall and didn't actually miss social media at all. I started to realize then that if something doesn't make me happy, if it's not useful to my life in some way, if I'm not learning from it, then it's probably not good for me and I'm better off without it.


I wondered what to do with my newfound time, not looking at social media any longer. I started to watch YouTube a little more than I had, instead of one or two short videos of people I was subscribed to, it became, over time, watching videos on some days for a good part of the day. I started to realize how unhappy I was after watching these videos and realized I was doing the same thing as before; I'd watch these videos to compare myself to others, only now I was getting an actual "day in the life" presentation instead of a few curated photos.


I thought, what is this really about? Why am I wasting time watching people that make me upset or angry, who fail to teach me anything useful and doing something that makes my life worse?


I figured the first thing I would do is go through each person I was subscribed to and think about how they made me feel. What I found was almost every single one gave me some kind of negative feeling about them. Only a few I felt positive about and I realized it was because I learned something from those people and didn't feel a compulsive need to watch every single one of their videos, only those that I was interested in.



I decided to unsubscribe from the YouTube creators that I felt negative about, but I noticed the next day I had a very strong urge to watch them. I decided to try to invest my time in other hobbies I had, where I would actually learn something or create something instead of sitting somewhere and watching videos.


After a week, I still felt a very strong urge to watch YouTube, but I didn't. I felt that as long as I had the urge to watch it, I was still addicted to it, so I had to stay away and focus on other things. I found, over the next seven weeks, that I was happier focusing on things that enriched my life. I focused more on creative projects I'd always wanted to learn how to do, learned how to cook more complicated foods, learned more songs on my musical instruments...basically anything that made me happy and feel more productive.


After almost two months, I was curious if I still had a problem with YouTube. I figured I'd still use YouTube for certain things, like instruction on creative projects, but I needed to know where I was at with my addiction to YouTube. I started to just look at videos and creators that I used to watch and I found that instead of having an urge to watch them, I was disinterested in their lives. I felt separated and was not invested in what their daily lives were like.


To be frank, it was weird to feel that way. I'd spent years watching these people off and on and to just not care anymore was the strangest thing; not something I had ever expected to feel.



I thought about what the difference was and I found that I noticed that I was much happier focusing on my own life and making it better than focusing on what other people were doing all of the time.


So much of social media and YouTube are carefully curated; you're only supposed to see what they want you to see, much like reality television, so the reality just isn't there. It's not real and I had to base my feelings of my own reality on actual reality, not a fake reality someone was trying to sell to me to make themselves feel better about their own lives (or, let's be honest, to sell us a product so they can make a living).


So, what can you do if you feel you are spending too much time on social media or some service like YouTube or TikTok? I'd recommend just not watching it at all for a while and see how you feel. Like me, if you feel a strong, almost uncontrollable urge to watch it, then you most likely have an addiction to it. Focus on other things that make you happy during this break and notice how you feel. Take the time to sit down and think about if you are less irritable, if you complain less, if you feel more fulfilled.


The longer I stayed away from social media and YouTube, the better I felt. I had never used Twitter, TikTok or Snapchat, so I didn't feel like I had a problem with those and had no urge to use them, but Instagram was a problem until I stayed away. As long as I use Instagram and YouTube as tools for learning or obtaining useful information, I find I don't have negative feelings about them; they are just tools to help me, nothing more.


If you find that you are having trouble quitting social media and/or YouTube, etc., don't feel hopeless; you can lessen how much you watch, even break the addiction, but you have to start somewhere and have an idea of what else you will do when you are taking your break.


For me, I had a lot of things I had put off in favor of social media and YouTube, although it was hard to shift my focus to those things at first because they seemed like a lot more work than watching YouTube or scrolling through social media. It gets easier though. After the first week, I felt a lot more of an urge to do things that were beneficial to me than watch YouTube and it got better every single day. It will for you as well.



Final Thoughts:


Do you feel like you have a problem with social media and/or YouTube, etc.? Did you overcome it or are you working on trying to focus on other things? How do you feel currently? Do you feel like viewing social media less would make your life better? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts below!


Thanks,

A


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