With the recent #deletefacebook backlash, social media addiction has come into the spotlight once again.
Social media, be it Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, YouTube, SnapChat, Twitter, Pinterest etc. is a wonderful way to keep in contact with friends and family; but it can also be detrimental to those who simply can’t pull themselves away from it.
Scientific research into social media addiction has shown that Facebook is almost as dangerous as substance addiction.
In fact, it’s been discovered that social media addiction triggers activity in the same areas of the brain that produce the highs from drugs like cocaine.
The article “6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health”, published in 2017, in Forbes says,
“A review study from Nottingham Trent University looked back over earlier research on the psychological characteristics, personality and social media use. The authors conclude that “it may be plausible to speak specifically of ‘Facebook Addiction Disorder’…because addiction criteria, such as neglect of personal life, mental preoccupation, escapism, mood modifying experiences, tolerance and concealing the addictive behavior, appear to be present in some people who use [social networks] excessively.” (They also found that the motivation for people’s excessive use of social networks differs depending on certain traits—introverts and extroverts use it for different reasons, as do people with narcissistic traits. But that deserves a piece of its own.)”
What is social media addiction?
Like addiction to cigarettes, porn, drugs, alcohol etc. to social media is defined by the effect it has on your brain and body, and the impact it has on other areas of your life.
Here are 11 signs of social media addiction:
- Spending longer than 1 hour per day on it
- Relying on reactions (likes, dislikes, comments, emojis) from other users in order to feel good
- Feeling negatively affected by the actions and comments of other users
- Using it as a distraction from problems, work, tasks and life
- Trying to use it less, or perhaps even stopping altogether, and failing
- Feelings of frustration, anxiety and other stress emotions when you’re unable to access your choice of social media
- Unable to resist checking for notifications regularly, even when you’re at work or in social gatherings
- Feeling disappointed when you don’t get the reaction you were hoping for from other users
- Thinking in advance about what you’re going to post when you’re not using the site
- Finding that your use of social media interrupts or delays other responsibilities and commitments
- Prioritizing social media over real-life activities
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying social media in moderation; however, if you find it’s affecting how you feel, or impacting on areas of your life in a negative way, it’s time to make a change.
Fortunately, there is a way to break this addiction fairly easily and without needing to go “cold turkey”.
Make a list of the reasons you want to cut down your use of social media.
Write down all the effects it has that you want to get rid of.
Do you feel happy, sad, frustrated, angry, excited, dishonest, rude, scared, empowered, lonely, jealous when you post or see others post?
Then, make a list of what you envision your life will be like once you have broken the social media addiction – for example, you may have more time for your family, you may go out with friends more often, you may feel less stressed, start a project you’ve been planning, or be able to enjoy life more in general without the constant pull of social media.
Now that you’ve got your list it’s time to … well, break that social media addiction.
Think about your favorite activities on social media – sharing your photos, status updates, videos, commenting on other people’s posts, retweeting others’ posts, browsing the newsfeed – whatever it is that makes you happiest.
Close your eyes and marinate in that feeling of joy.
Notice where in your body you feel it, and how strong it is.
Now think about the people you love – your friends and family.
Think about the last time you met up with some of them in person; and send that same feeling to them – to that memory.
Send that same feel-good feeling to those you love, and to the memories you have with them and see them sending the same feeling back to you.
Think of meeting up with your closest friend, and fill that image and your friend with that same good feeling.
Take a deep breath, blow it out, and say “Peace”.
Take a deep breath and close your eyes.
Now think about the feeling of not being able to get onto social media – imagine your internet is down, and it’s going to take several weeks before you’ll get online again.
Notice the feeling that idea brings up in you.
Notice what it feels like, where in your body you feel it, and how strong it is.
Now, use the FasterEFT technique to tap out that feeling.
Keep repeating it until the idea of not being able to get online for several weeks causes no negative reaction in you at all.
Next, go to a time when you’ve had a strong reaction to something on social media – it might have been something upset you, or it may have been something that caused you excitement.
Whatever it was, notice the details and the feelings in that memory, and again, use the FasterEFT technique to tap until the memory flips.
Keep going until the memory has flipped completely.
For more information on how to flip a memory and why it’s important, watch:
Keep going through your emotional experiences with social media, cleaning them out and flipping each memory.
If memories come to you from the past, even if they have nothing to do with social media, make sure you address those using FasterEFT as well.
Just like weeding a garden, you will need to maintain what you’ve achieved.
Whenever you feel the urge to take one more peak at your social media, use the FasterEFT technique right then, in the moment to clear the urge.
Just notice what you’re feeling, and then use the process until the feeling has gone.
If you’re in public and can’t tap physically, use Mental Tapping instead.
For more information on Mental Tapping watch:
Once you’ve tapped out the compulsion, go to your happy memory – go to a memory of your loved ones, and fill yourself with that feeling.
Here are a few resources to get you started:
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