Breaking Free From Social Media Addiction

Addiction is a habit that impacts your daily life negatively. There are people getting hit pretty hard due to this addiction. In Confessions of a Tweeter, Larry Carlat shares his painful journal from losing his job and then his marriage due to his Twitter addiction.

In my blog Are You Addicted to Social Media? I listed some negative effects social media does have on our health. All of this is not to say that there’s no benefit to social media—obviously, it keeps us connected across great distances.

Anything that takes up large amounts of your time, including work, exercising or watching TV, has some impact on your health. When used consciously and in moderation, social media can have a positive impact on your life.

Can you deal with Social Media Addiction? Yes, today I will show you how to break free from Social Media Addiction, step-by-step.
First, let’s look at some characteristics of a social media addict.

Characteristics of a Social Media Addict

  1. The first thing you do once you wake up and the last thing you do before bed is to check your social media.
  2. You post a selfie every day and anxiously wait for “likes” and comments.
  3. You “check-in” whether you are at a grocery store or at a movie theatre. You get frustrated if the place you are at does not show up automatically.
  4. There is an unspoken agreement that nobody is to touch the food until you have @nished the photo-snapping ritual.
  5. You feel extremely uneasy if your phone is out of sight or out of reach. 
  6. You find it unbearable when there is no internet access or the internet is down.  
  7. You have “Phantom Vibration Syndrome”. 
  8. You use social media to communicate with your friend who is sitting at the same table. 
  9. You get annoyed by being disturbed while you are on social media. 
  10. You have been told to get off the phone many times.

Steps to Breaking Free from Social Media Addiction

  1. Set goals for when you can use your smartphone: For example, you might schedule use for certain times of day, or you could reward yourself with a certain amount of time on your phone once you’ve completed a task or finished a chore, for instance.
  2. Turn off your phone at certain times of the day: such as when you’re driving, in a meeting, at the gym, having dinner, or playing with your kids.
  3. Don’t bring your phone or tablet to bed: The blue light emitted by the screens can disrupt your sleep if used within two hours of bedtime. Turn devices off and leave them in another room overnight to charge. Instead of reading eBooks on your phone or tablet at night, pick up a book. You’ll not only sleep better but research shows you’ll also remember more of what you've read.
  4. Replace your smartphone use with healthier activities: If you are bored and lonely, resisting the urge to use your smartphone to play games or check social media can be very difficult. Have a plan for other ways to @ll the time, such as meditating, reading a book, or chatting with friends face to face.
  5. Spending time with other smartphone addicts and play the “phone stack” game: When you’re having lunch, dinner, or drinks together, have everyone place their smartphones face down on the table. Even as the phones buzz and beep, no one is allowed to grab his or her device. If someone can’t resist checking their phone, that person has to pick up the check for everyone.
  6. Remove social media apps from your phone so you can only check Facebook, Twitter and the like from your computer: What you see of others on social media is rarely an accurate reflection of their lives—people exaggerate the positive aspects of their lives, brushing over the doubts and disappointments that we all experience. Spending less time comparing yourself unfavorably to these stylized representations can help to boost your mood and sense of self-worth.
  7. Limit checks: If you compulsively check your phone every few minutes, wean yourself off by limiting your checks to once every 15 minutes. Then once every 30 minutes, then once an hour. If you need help, there are apps that can automatically limit when you’re able to access your phone.
  8. Curb your fear of missing out: Accept that by limiting your smartphone use, you’re likely going to miss out on certain invitations, breaking news, or new gossip. There is so much information available on the Internet, it’s almost impossible to stay on top of everything, anyway. Accepting this can be liberating and help break your reliance on technology.

In the book The Internet Addiction Cure: The Most Effective, Permanent Solution To Finally Overcome Internet Addiction For Life (Addiction, Net Addiction, Social Media … Twitter Addiction, Television Addiction), John K. (Author) helps you to detect early symptoms of not only social media addiction but internet addiction in general. The later part of this book contains proven steps and strategies on how to successfully get through internet addiction.

Changing a habit takes time. You may experience a relapse that is totally normal. Don’t get discouraged. The best way to change a habit is to replace it with something else; something that will improve the quality of your life. Why not try walking, to begin with.

Reclaim Your Life

Social media addiction is literally a habit that turns into an obsession that takes over your life and inhabits your daily functioning. As mentioned earlier, when used consciously and in moderation, it can have a positive impact on your life. All you need is to modify the way how you use it.