Stories of Men

Why you should go on a social media detox

A few weeks ago, a mate and I decided to go cold turkey. This meant no YouTube, no Instagram, no music, no TV, no Facebook, no tiktok (this last one was a joke; no way in a million years I’d ever download this), absolutely nothing social media-related at all.

I’ve done it for 3 weeks so far and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made

No longer did I regret having wasted hours of my life scrolling through 30-second videos about sports, celebrities, or inspirational quotes with inspirational background music. However, I do love the Hans Zimmer stuff 🙂.

No longer did I find myself over-stimulated when trying to get to sleep, wondering how many LinkedIn likes Stories of Men has got.

I was no longer bombarded with football and boxing highlights and interviews (this one is a real drug for me and never-ending too). Instead, I actually had time to focus on making highlights of my own, which was a lot more rewarding.

As they say, ‘create content’ instead of ‘consuming’ it.

I also had more time to focus on my real life friends and interests.

Perhaps most importantly, I gave myself the opportunity to mind my own business and be more self-focused. I talk about the importance of this in this article.

So congratulations to me, right? No, this post isn’t just about me. It’s about the people who won’t do what I’ve done, or, even more worryingly, can’t.

For example, let’s take those who have grown up in a world in which social media has always existed. If you were to suggest doing a social media blackout for one week to your teenage son or daughter, or niece or nephew, or the kid that does wheelies past your house after he’s finished school in the afternoon, what do you think their response would be?

Do you think they’d even get around to giving you a response before checking the latest notification popping up on their phones?

Now, I don’t want you to think I’m here just having a go at teenagers. I was a teenager once, just like you. The truth is that our social media addiction doesn’t just affect teenagers.

According to a recent study, a shocking 40% of teenage/young adult internet users report having an addiction to social media. But so do 37% of those aged 23-38, now that’s getting into my territory.

So it’s clear that social media addiction is a major issue that affects many of us, even those of us who we might think would be less susceptible. But should we be surprised? 

Award-winning author and entrepreneur, Damien Priestley, certainly isn’t. He’s been warning about the addictive potential of social media for a while. I was at an event of his recently where he described social media as the only drug that has been released to the entire population without undergoing any clinical trials.

As a side note, the only time that he swore at the event was when he spoke about social media where he said ‘And that f*cking TikTok is a nightmare! Keep your kids away.’ Couldn’t help laughing at that one.

This drug-like effect of social media merits further investigation. 

By the way, why do we even have this social media addiction; the endless scrolling, etc? 

My theory is that we’re trying to escape the present. We don’t want boredom in a hyper-stimulated world. 

Boredom is considered a bad thing, apparently. We have too much pain; too many past traumas, etc., and the only way to numb ourselves further is to move our attention away from it all. 

Heaven forbid that we can just be with ourselves and our own thoughts. This would form a longer blog article in future if there’s interest?

The tiny little clips that seem to be everywhere online these days stimulate a reward system in the brain known as a “dopamine hit”.

A dopamine hit is also the sort of response you get from taking drugs like cocaine. Now I’m definitely not recommending this or any other kind of drug by the way. In fact, that’s the point: I am recommending that we don’t keep chasing these dopamine hits from anywhere, including from social media.

As Anna Lembke argues in her brilliant book, Dopamine Nation, as a society we are becoming more and more reliant on these instant gratification responses, which may make us feel good for a while but eventually leave us feeling empty, unmotivated, and unfulfilled

Ever felt like this after endless scrolling? I know I have.

Although dopamine hits aren’t necessarily always bad. Listen to Isaac, for instance, a man with complex disabilities, he tells his inspiring story of achieving his ultimate ambition of going sky-diving and the rush he got from this

Nevertheless, it’s pretty obvious that addictive behaviours are not behaviours that should be encouraged. But what can we do to break this dopamine soaked social media obsession?

Well, it’s simple: we need to stop feeding the addiction. Stay away from the dopamine snacks of Youtube shorts, TikTok, etc. 

Maybe going completely cold turkey the way I did would be too difficult for some but, if you feel you or someone close to you is relying on social media too much, start to set time limits.

Give yourself one hour in the day, for instance, to do your scrolling, posting, liking, etc., and then leave it there. Being able to control your social media use is a great sign that you are no longer at risk of addiction.

Monitor your screen time. All smartphones have this feature.

Alternatively, bite the bullet and get off social media completely. To truly break the habit you probably should be off social media for at least four weeks, that’s about how long it takes for a new habit to form and to get over the addiction according to the book ‘Dopamine Nation’ I mentioned.

That’s what I’ll most likely aim for the next time I go on my social media blackout and I shall be sure to report the positive results. If you try this at home, let me know what results you experience (when you’re back on social media that is 😉).

For further inspiration on how breaking negative habits can lead to positive change in our lives, listen to Dale Pollitt talk about the lifestyle changes that allowed him to fulfil his true potential.



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Laura is the mix engineer for the Stories of Men podcast. She has a BA in Music from Nottingham University and an Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering from Abbey Road Institute. Alongside working for Our Voices she is a freelance sound designer and technician. Her highlights include sound design for JK Rowling audiobook ‘The Christmas Pig’, and sound effects editing on The Outlaws, on the BBC.

For the Stories of Men podcast, Laura is typically provided with a Voice Over and interview. She then cleans the dialogue, integrates the podcast intro and outros, chooses the music that will add to the storytelling and pacing of the episode, then bring all the elements together in the mix, followed by mastering and then delivering the final edit.

Experience in Industry: 3


Favourite Food: Potatoes

Favourite Sport: Wild swimming

Favourite Show: Anything Marvel

Favourite Movie: Anything Marvel

Favourite City: London

Hobby: Music

Favourite Book: Northern Lights


I’m the community manager at Stories of Men. I spend most of my time focusing on the implementation of our marketing strategy, achieving goals and KPIs, and the rest of the time listening to the amazing stories of our guests. What I love most about working for Stories of men is the impact it has on peoples’ lives. It requires a lot of courage to tell your story out loud so I make sure these stories are heard by as many people as possible.

I was born and raised in Pakistan and I’ve been living in Hungary for over two years now. I have a Master’s degree in Marketing and I live for mastering the art of digital marketing.

Industry experience: 3 Years


Favourite Food: Biryani – introduced by the Mughal rulers in the Indian subcontinent; this dish is an absolute delight. Also, can never say no to a good burger – extra cheese!

Favourite Sport: Cricket – I grew up playing and watching cricket with friends and family.

Favourite Show: Stranger Things – I love how an odd group of friends fight against challenges bigger than themselves.

Favourite Movie: Harry Potter – The only movie I can watch over and over again!

Favourite City: Prague – Absolutely love the Baroque and Gothic vibe of this city.

Hobby: Netflix, Travelling, and Eating- I want to try different cuisines from every country once in my lifetime!

Favourite Book: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – A fast-paced thriller that keeps you hooked from the first page to the last.


I run Fascinate Productions, the production company behind the Stories of Men podcast. I’ve had a wide variety of roles in media, from underwater videography, to live televised sporting events around the world. But since listening to my first audiobook in 2016, I’ve been all about audio and jumped in with two feet. Podcasts are enabling the world to democratise its most valuable information. They’re about spreading messages, and sharing ideas, and it’s my mission to help those holding the knowledge, to distribute it far and wide.

When Alex approached us with the idea of making a short stories podcast, with a big social impact, he got our attention. As the producer of the show, I’ve heard his guests’ highest highs, their lowest lows, and the moments of change that made them who they are – it’s been a privilege helping to craft their most intimate experiences into stories for you to enjoy.

 Experience in Industry: 5 years


Favourite Food: Ice cream. It’s just the greatest culinary invention.

Favourite Sport: Rugby. I played from the age of 5 until 26 when a dislocated shoulder put me out of action. Still like to watch now though.

Favourite Show: The 100 – I love those ‘what if humans nearly got wiped out?’ type shows.

Favourite Movie: Gladiator

Favourite City: London. As a country boy from Yorkshire, I never thought I’d enjoy living here.

Hobby: Listening to podcasts while on long walks with my dog Alfie.

Favourite Book: I love to read anything business/startup related… One of the most recent great ones was Good Strategy/Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt



Richard Willan is the CEO of Fascinate productions, a podcast production and promotion company. Before starting Fascinate, he worked an audio engineer, mastering tracks for artists on major and independent labels.

He is an executive producer for ‘Stories of Men’ where he assists with production, creative direction of the show, and marketing strategy.  





Favourite Food: I love Indian food – My favourite dish is a Dansak. It’s a rich combination of hot, sweet and sour flavours, made from lamb and lentils.

Favourite Sport: I enjoy watching combat sports like MMA – Isreal Adesanya is my favourite fighter at the moment, due to his Tae Kwon Do base and speed. 

Favourite Show: Succession – an American satirical drama. The character development is incredible, and the writing is top notch. 

Favourite Movie: True Lies. I find it amazing that someone who can’t act (Arni) has so many great films.

Favourite City: London, because it is a melting pot of culture and the music scene is amazing. 

Hobby: Making music, going to gym and eating out. 

Favourite Book:  The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I love the world she created, and the incremental path the characters take into darkness. It’s amazing.


I am responsible for writing blog articles for the Stories of Men podcast. I have the privilege of listening to fascinating stories on the topics and issues regarding men that are of greatest relevance to our society today. Once I’ve done this, I create articles that provide an overview and description of the conversations in order to help spread them to the widest possible audience. My job is to make these articles as engaging as the conversations themselves.

As an English teacher who has worked with students from all over the world for over 10 years, I have got used to successfully communicating with those from different backgrounds and cultures. This has helped me to appreciate the value of connection across borders and boundaries. It has also helped me to appreciate that we are all able to learn from each other’s experiences.



Favourite Food: Chocolate. It’s an indulgence, I know, but it tastes so good. I particularly enjoy dark chocolate for its richness and smoothness. 

Favourite Sport: Football.Unfortunately, my local team (Nottingham Forest) is not in that top league but I hope that one day it will be.

Favourite Show: The Wire. 

Favourite Movie: The Godfather. 

Favourite City: Reykjavik. I had the pleasure of spending two weeks there a number of years ago and I loved the place for its beauty, culture and calmness. It’s rare that you can be in a capital city and experience genuine space and peace and quiet. There’s also a black sand beach to walk along, although, due to the cold, I wouldn’t recommend bathing in the sea!

Hobby: Watching films. I love films, foreign films, classic films, contemporary films, just all good films.

Favourite Book: “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer. 

I’m the Editor of Stories of men. I craft compelling narratives from the stories of our fantastic guests, editing their interviews and scripting the episodes. I’m a freelance journalist and audio producer from Northern Ireland, currently based in California. I cover social issues, health and gender – with reporting in The Guardian, Vice, NPR, Cosmopolitan and many others. My focus is shining a light on the communities and initiatives that improve people’s lives. I have a background in the nonprofit space, having worked in communications for a mental health charity, as well as an education start-up. I mentor young female writers and sit on the board of an NGO that empowers women in global supply chains. 

Favourite Food:  In a word, sandwiches. The possibilities are endless.

Favourite Sport: Show jumping. When I was little I wanted to be a professional horse-rider, and I still get a kick out of watching the pros in action.

Favourite Show: Fleabag: the writing and acting create a thrilling kind of intimacy I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Favourite Movie: Victoria is an incredible German thriller that’s all shot in one take – it’s a real trip. Plus it’s beautifully soundtracked by Nils Frahm.

Favourite City: Very hard to choose, but it’s got to be Barcelona. The food, the pace of life, the winding streets – there’s nowhere else like it. 

Hobby: exploring city streets on my bike – preferably while listening (safely!) to a podcast – is when I’m at my happiest. 

Favourite Book: Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other is a stunning, utterly unique portrait of womanhood, race, ageing and the principles we choose to live 

I am the host of Stories of Men. I help to find men that have a powerful voice to share and then I speak to them and help to tease the stories out of them that will have a positive impact on the listener. 

While running Swoosh English, an online English school from 2013 – 2021, I had the opportunity to meet men from all walks of life and many of these guys had incredible stories. This inspired me to start ‘Stories of Men’ because I wanted to give these men a platform to share their stories with the world.

I love the detail that people go into and how people craft stories in different ways. My dream and vision for the future would be countless people messaging to tell us how a particular episode has changed their lives!


Favourite Food: Avocados – an incredibly delicious fruit that can be used in so many dishes. My favourite is guacamole with nachos!

Favourite Sport: Boxing and football (couldn’t choose one!)

Favourite Show: 2 comedy series: Alan Partridge and The Office (UK version). I just love English humour!

Favourite Movie: Shawshank Redemption: An unbelievable journey full of twists and turns.

Favourite City:  New York – Living there for a year in 2008 changed my life. It made me believe that anything in life was possible if you want something badly enough.

Hobby: Football, boxing, reading, learning Spanish, travelling and watching fascinating conversations on Youtube.

Favourite Book: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – a book about an incredible journey.