Checking your social media accounts a few times a day isn’t an issue, but what happens when you check it frequently? There is such a thing as social media addiction that can have a negative impact on your emotional and mental well-being, including your self-esteem and mood. If you struggle with this problem, keep in mind that there are ways to overcome it.
This is Your Brain on Social Media
Social Media Causes “FoMO”
How does social media end up causing an addiction? There are several ways, but one of the main culprits is the fear of missing out (FoMO). When you constantly feel the need to check your social media accounts for updates, it’s often because you’re afraid that you’ll miss out on something. This fear of missing out can cause a significant amount of anxiety throughout the day if you’re unable to check your social media as often as you think you need to.
Social Media Gives You an Ego Boost
Social media can also lead to addiction by giving your ego a boost. When people “like” your photos or posts, this results in positive reinforcement. This positive feedback creates a powerful urge to use social media often. Social media can also make you feel compelled to check for updates frequently as a means of comparing yourself to others. This can have a positive or negative effect, depending on whether you feel more fortunate about yourself or develop feelings of envy as a result of these comparisons. Either way, these are also strong effects can cause an addiction to occur.
Curbing Your Social Media Addiction
Being aware of your social media use and the effects it can have on your brain can help you overcome an addiction. When you realize that you have a problem, you can take the following steps to put a stop to it:
Shut off push notifications: If you have your phone set up to receive notifications, turn them off. Getting notifications can make you even more likely to check your social media accounts.
Delete social media apps: Getting rid of the apps on your phone makes it harder for you to check for updates. In order to do so, you would have to log into your accounts through your web browser. Although this only involves an extra step, it can be enough to make you think twice about checking your social media frequently.
Set usage times: Instead of checking your accounts whenever you want during the day, set aside times to use social media. Limit the amount of time you spend on it, and hold yourself accountable for logging off when that time is up. This will most likely be difficult to do at first, but sticking to these time limits can make it easier to overcome your addiction.
Leave your phone downstairs: Checking social media can make it harder for you to go to bed and get a good night’s rest, which can affect your physical well-being. Leave your phone downstairs or in another room, so you won’t be tempted to check it before bed or during the night if you wake up.
Replace social media with a productive activity: Replace checking social media with reading a book, doing something creative or doing another activity that’s healthier for your brain.