Do you find yourself losing a few minutes or hours every day using social media? If yes, you are not alone. While social media platforms were created to help people connect with their loved ones, it has evolved into a fun tool that people of all age groups use. Most people have enjoyed using social media regularly that they’ve gotten addicted to it. While there’s nothing like a diagnosis for social media addiction, the overuse of these platforms is quite common today. And it has serious effects on the body and mind. In this post, we are going to discuss everything about social media addiction and how you can deal with it effectively. Let’s get started!
Defining social media addiction
People use social media platforms to connect with loved ones, watch funny videos, or pass time. This is especially true for kids and young adults. So, how does a harmless hobby become an addiction? Like other types of addictions, when used wrongly, social media can harm your brain. You’ll find yourself scrolling through images, posts, and videos excessively and compulsively such that it starts interfering with other important areas of your life. Research studies have shown that close to ten percent of the people in the US suffer from social media addiction. However, due to the general use of social media, the number of people who are suffering from this addiction can be higher. Thanks to the rapid advancement of technology, this activity is becoming accessible to thousands of people every day. And this poses a huge risk.
Why does social media addict?
Scrolling posts, videos, and photos during your leisure time can seem like a harmless activity. However, it has a huge effect on your mind. When you log on to your chosen platform, your brain stimulates the production of dopamine – a hormone that is associated with pleasure. When you experience an increase in dopamine after using social media platforms, your brain will identify the activity as a great experience that should be repeated.
You may start feeling great whenever you post something and read positive comments from your friends and followers. The positive experiences that you get from social media are temporary. As the effects of dopamine start wearing off, you’ll find yourself going back to social media to get more. If you are isolated due to the pandemic or work, you might feel encouraged to use social media to reduce loneliness which is not always the case.
Effects of social media addiction
While engaging in social media every once in a while is not likely to affect you, overusing these platforms can lead to serious negative consequences on the body and mind. And they include:
- Low self-esteem is caused by an inaccurate perception that other people are living better lives than you
- Increased loneliness and isolation
- Lack of enough sleep especially if you use social media platforms at night
- Poor performance at or school
- Reduced ability to empathize and understand others
- A decline in physical activity can affect your general health
- Fear of missing out can lead to more usage of the platforms
- Depression or anxiety
Are you addicted to social media?
Getting help from a mental health professional can help you find out whether you are suffering from social media addiction or simply using it a lot. There are a few differences between a habit that you enjoy and social media addiction. And they include:
- Negative effects at school or work due to overuse of these platforms such as scrolling pictures and videos instead of working or studying.
- Increased use of social media when hanging out with family and friends or when eating.
- Relying on social media to cope with challenges that you are currently facing.
- Feeling angry or bored whenever usage of social media is reduced.
- Irritability or restlessness whenever you are not scrolling pictures or videos on social media.
- Thinking about social media when it’s not time to use it. And opening it first whenever you get an opportunity.
- Losing track of time whenever you log onto your social media account.
- Compulsive access which involves accessing social media after a couple of minutes to see if there are any new updates.
Best strategies to address social media addiction
Here are some of the best ways that you can use to beat social media addiction:
Disable notifications on your gadgets
Notifications on your phone, tablet, or computer are one of the biggest killers of productivity. Whenever you hear a notification sound or notice changes on the notification bar, you find yourself checking your gadget immediately unconsciously.
Notifications can disrupt you especially when you have important activities that need to be done. If you don’t turn off notifications, you’ll find yourself visiting social media platforms after every few minutes. And this can lead to wastage of time, procrastination, and poor performance at work or school. If you want to get the most out of your day and beat social media addiction, turn off your phone.
Find a new hobby
To beat social media addiction, you’ll need to set a time limit. After doing this, you’ll notice that you’ll have a lot of time for yourself. So, what are you going to do? You’ll be surprised by the number of things that you can do during your spare time.
When you stop checking social media posts and notifications excessively and compulsively, you’ll get enough time to try new recipes, draw a beautiful piece or read books. Revisiting your old hobby or trying a new hobby will transform your life. Once you start doing what you love, you are likely to see yourself doing other fun activities instead of checking social media platforms.
There is a real world
Most people are so immersed in their gadgets and technology that they forget to have fun with the family and friends close to them. If you don’t live with your family or are close to your friends, call them regularly. This is one of the best ways to build your social life. As the popular saying goes, no man is an island. You need to cooperate with others to have a meaningful and successful life.
Put your phone down
By putting your phone down, you’ll have more time for the people around you. Most people today are too occupied with their gadgets. They spend a lot of time on the internet and social media platforms. And this makes the addiction stronger. By putting your gadgets down, you’ll limit social media usage and help you get the right perspective of life. While digital gadgets are essential in our lives today, you need to take regular breaks to keep the right balance.
Get out as much as you can
If you don’t like to read books, there are a lot of hobbies out there for you to explore. The best part is most of these hobbies do not require gadgets. For instance, if you love shopping, consider checking out your local stores instead of visiting different online shops on the internet. While you might be tempted to use your mobile phone to place orders online, going outside and swimming, taking a walk or gardening is way better than lying on your couch all day as you scroll videos and posts on different social media platforms.
Another great way to beat social media addiction is by sleeping early. Most people are not as productive as they should be because they don’t sleep well. Research studies show that adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Lack of enough sleep can lead to irritability, poor concentration, weakened immune system, fatigue, and burnout. If you are always up at 3 am scrolling posts and videos on social media, you need to address this problem. By going to bed early, you’ll get the quality sleep that will ensure that you wake up feeling fresh and fulfilled the next day. To avoid checking your phone before sleeping, turn it off and put it away from your bed.
Boost your productivity
One of the best ways to fight social media addiction is by setting goals and doing everything you can to achieve this goal. After setting a challenge for yourself, always reward yourself whenever you achieve a milestone. This will motivate you to keep on keeping on in the long run. For instance, if you’ve loved creating content, you can consider writing an e-book or novel. Whenever you complete a chapter, reward yourself. Once your mind is focused on the creation of new projects, you won’t have time to waste on social media. Keeping yourself busy in the real world will limit the amount of time you spend on the internet and different social media platforms.
Make real friends
By using this tip, you’ll kill two birds with one stone. You’ll beat social media addiction and make real friends. You won’t have to spend hours checking people’s profiles on social media to follow them and make friends. Making new friends is not the easiest thing in the world. However, when you get a true friend, your life will change and you’ll feel fulfilled. Having a few real friends makes you feel social than having millions of friends online.
Be realistic when setting goals
While you might feel like quitting social media cold turkey is a good thing for you, experts suggest that you need to make changes gradually to ensure that the process happens smoothly. Ensure that your goals are not only realistic but attainable. These can include not visiting any social media platform for one full day, checking your phone at a specified time, or changing your preferred social media platform. If you set unrealistic goals, you’ll have a hard time keeping your promise. And you’ll end up going back to your old habits.
Track the amount of time you spend on social media
Social media is one of the most potent forces in our world today. This force is so powerful that it makes us lose track of time. To solve this problem, you need to set your timer before you start scrolling through different social media platforms. Use your timer and stop browsing once your time is up. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up wasting a lot of valuable time. And this will negatively affect your work or school performance.
Don’t include your phone in your morning routine
After getting out of bed, don’t rush to grab your phone. Avoid it at all costs. This habit not only exhibits an unhealthy dependency on your phone but also overwhelms your mind with too much information. This will distract and overwhelm you. Do not touch your phone until you’ve settled down.
Social media addiction is a disease that is affecting millions of people around the world today. If you are one of these people, you need to use the tips that we’ve discussed in this article. Which tip will you start using today?