Social networking sites have given us an amazing ability to connect with others, reconnect with old friends, share life accomplishments, and keep up with what our loved ones are doing around the world. The benefits are huge, but there are downsides too.
Signs Of Social Media Addiction
Do you obsess over whether people will like your status updates? Do you post pictures of everything going on in your day? Do you check your social media sites as soon as you wake up in the morning and before you close your eyes at night? You might have a problem.
What Is Social Media Addiction?
When you think of addiction you probably think of alcoholics, heroin junkies or pill poppers, but there are other types of addiction. Process or behavioral addictions are addictions to anything other than a drug or alcohol. Most definitions of addiction leave room for these process addictions. The defining characteristics of any addiction include: the inability to stop using or doing an activity, cravings, withdrawal and continuing to use or engage in an activity despite problems it causes.
Getting addicted to using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and so many others, is a real problem. In fact, a recent social media study found out just why we are capable of becoming addicted to using these sites. Harvard researchers found that sharing information on social media sites activates the same part of the brain associated with pleasure. The same area is stimulated by drugs and alcohol as well as by more innocent activities such as eating good food.
How Can You Overcome Social Media Addiction?
Whether you are a full-blown media addict, or you simply feel that you spend too much time online, there are some ways in which you can start to curtail your habit and learn to live a healthier lifestyle without obsessing over your status updates and number of likes. You don’t have to give up social media entirely, but learn how to moderate yourself.
- Acknowledge your addiction – It is always important for any type of addict to admit he has a problem. That can be more difficult when it comes to social media, because it is not so obviously bad for you in the way that drugs are. Take some time to reflect on how it impacts your life and add up how much time you spend plugged in. Acknowledge the emotions you have wrapped up in social media.
- Cut out early morning and late night – Most social media addicts think about getting on their sites as soon as they wake up and they make a status check the last thing they do each night. Just cutting out these two social media sessions will give you instant perspective. When you wake up, ignore your phone and start getting ready for the day. Have a cup of coffee and check out the news. At night, read an actual book and ignore your phone.
- Set time limits – Now that you have gained better perspective of your habit, set limits during the day. Agree to put your phone down for an hour at a time here and there. Completely ignore your phone during real-time social interactions. Resist the urge to pick it up and focus on the person in front of you.
- Get a hobby – As you start to cut down on your social media time, you may find that you have some empty hours in the day. Fill that time with meaningful activities that will help you resist the urge to get back on social media. Go for a walk, join a gym, read a book, take an art class or do anything else that interests you.
- Deactivate and get help – If you can’t cut back, no matter how hard you try, you may have a more serious problem. Deactivate your social media accounts, unless you need one for work, and seek the help of a professional counselor with experience in handling process addictions.
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