Have you ever felt your hand automatically reach out for your phone when you hear a notification? Despite the fact that there is no medically recognized term for social media addiction, we all feel its influence.
Are we all addicted to social media?
It may be tricky to know whether you are addicted or not, since checking social media has become part of our daily routine. Studies have proved that dropping smoking can be easier than breaking the habit of checking your phone in the moments of boredom. If you can relate to the following points, you may be more dependent on social media than you think.
- when you are in a restaurant or traveling you often take a break to update your friends on how amazing your experience is with a tweet or a picture.
- you take breaks during your study or working times to check the latest updates on Facebook or Instagram.
- your social media addiction influences your relationship as instead of having decent conversations with your loved ones, you are stuck in the virtual world.
- you text with your friend more than you talk with them.
- you check your social media out of boredom.
Our brain is to blame
Social media plays on two key factors. One, our brain craves constant stimulation – even if they are just memes or news articles about global warming. This releases dopamine, a chemical that gives you satisfaction from instant gratification. It is released when you scroll through your feed and see news articles, or even when you Google-search something and get your answer instantly. Our brain craves continuous entertainment which is readily available online.
Two, people like talking about themselves. Almost 80% of our social media posts are about ourselves. Self-disclosure lights up the same areas in the brain as delicious food or sex do. Studies have shown that people like to talk about themselves even more when they know they have an audience. With social media, talking about ourselves with numerous people at once is easier than ever.
If you make the decision to limit your time spent roaming the net, there are some tips you can follow make the transition easier now.
- Turn off the notifications. The less you are exposed to the triggers, the easier it is to resist.
- Set your “unplugging time”. Stop checking your phone an hour before bed and try to make a phone-free weekend.
- Choose a time for your social media. There is no need to disappear from your accounts and such an abrupt change will be difficult if you are used to spending hours on Facebook. Instead, choose the time during the day (for example, after lunch) when you can catch up on all the updates without interfering with your normal tasks.
Unplugging can increase your quality of life, but are you ready to do it?