You might find it difficult to perceive that something so new and inescapable can cause addiction. Still, social media’s newness and accessibility may be what’s clutching users young and old in its grasp. Many of us find it hard to detach ourselves from our screens, making us feel less productive and inferior to our peers.
Still, you don’t have to let social media ruin your life. Suppose you can begin seeing social media as a fun treat to use every once in a while, as opposed to your one-stop-shop for life advice, updates on your loved ones, or a marker for how well you’re doing in your career. In that case, you’ll find you can free up your mind and schedule to focus on things that actually bring you joy and fulfillment.
What Is Social Media Addiction?
Addiction involves an intense craving for something where the user no longer has control over how to regulate its use while continuing to engage with it even if it has a negative impact. Social media is explicitly more of a behavioral addiction where the substance in question is social media, where the user has an uncontrollable urge to continue to log on despite it impairing other areas of their life.
What Are The Negative Impacts?
Social media addiction can cause concerning psychological and physiological responses in the body, including:
- Anxiety, or even confusion with attempting to function with a phone
- Withdrawal symptoms such as increased heart rate and high blood pressure, similar to an actual drug
- Higher suicide rates among young people who had a high usage of social media, although it cannot be interpreted as social media being the only factor in these cases.
- A measurable change in brain function in the brains of teens, such as structure and level of neurotransmitters
Below are some tips on curbing social media addiction to prevent adverse side effects. You can also visit BetterHelp for additional advice on how to improve your mental and physical health.
Spend Your Extra Time On A Hobby
Many young people can’t remember a time before they had social media, so they certainly can’t take the advice to do what they always did before it came into the picture. Many young people even document their hobbies on their social media channels. If you’re one of these individuals, either pick up a new hobby or skill that takes your mind off of social media or stop using social media as a means of accountability. You deserve to enjoy yourself and enrich your soul without the prying eyes of an online audience.
See Your Friends And Family In Person
Sure, you can get some pretty general updates about the lives of your loved ones on Instagram or Facebook, but for the most part, the things people are showcasing on their social media are highly curated. Not only should you back away from depending on these curations from giving you an accurate picture of your friends and family’s lives, but you should also reach out to them and see about connecting in person. You can also make time for a nice long phone call. Human interaction will take you further than edited pictures on a screen.
Set Aside Time Just For Social Media
If you still like social media but don’t want it to continue taking over your life, try blocking out a time in your schedule to dedicate specifically to scrolling through your newsfeed or even posting on your channels. You can also find productivity apps or setting on your phone and computer to help you with steering away from social media. If you have an iPhone, try using the Screen Time setting to input your limits on your social media usage manually.
Turn Off Your Notifications
Alternatively, you can also turn off your notifications to have an easier time focusing on your more important tasks and avoid getting distracted by obnoxious dings that alert you to things that will not benefit your day. They also make you feel like there’s constantly a party going on somewhere that you weren’t invited to which can trigger the feeling of FOMO, of the fear of missing out. Think of turning on your notification as a way to accumulate all the exciting updates for later on in the day.
Quit Social Media Cold Turkey
Lastly, there’s always the option just to quit social media altogether. Yes, this may seem incomprehensible in our current world, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. The fact of the matter is that our world will only become more dependent on the internet every day, so quitting entirely may not be feasible, especially for those of us who work in marketing, for example. But think of it in terms of how much more free time you’ll have. For instance, if your phone says you spent six hours online in one day if you average that amount of time a week, you could potentially save 42 extra hours a week!