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Our Social Media Usage – Am I okay with it or Not?

All of us today live in a revolutionized smartphone era, in which Wi-Fi and social media have become impeccable survival ingredients. Social media is perceived as a formula to “connect” with others, by either sharing their live moments or even making a lifestyle statement. However, with great social interaction, comes great responsibility.

Here are a few staggering statistics that demonstrate the enormous impact cellular phones and social media have had on our lives over the past era:

  • There are 3.2 billion social media users worldwide.

  • 90.4 percent of Millennials are active social media users.

  • People spend an average of 2.22 hours on social media and messaging apps every day.

  • 500 million Instagram stories are uploaded daily.

  • 91 percent of social media is accessed on mobile devices.

The overwhelming growth of social media, of course, doesn’t affect everyone, but it has influenced the lifestyles of millions of people. Most of my clients, over 85 percent, are negatively affected by social media in some way. In a 2017 study done by Shakya and Epidemiol at Harvard University, researchers found social media to have a significantly negative impact on social relationships, self-esteem, academic success, and overall emotional well-being. People are comparing themselves to what appear to be flawless versions of other people or influencers.

The study also found there is a direct link between high-volume social media usage, depression, and anxiety.

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is another problem created by today’s social media-driven world. Furthermore, cyberbullying has become more prevalent as tweens and teens use social media as a primary communication tool. Yet social media has become widely accepted as a communication and marketing tool. So, figuring out ways to navigate a healthy balance between the use and misuse of this technology is an important lifestyle decision. Some of my clients have been open to technology breaks; others have been reticent to do so.

How can you identify social media addiction?

Many people use social media in healthy ways to stay in touch and up to date. However, if social media use becomes excessive or compulsive, to the point where it is detrimental to other areas of life, this may indicate a social media addiction.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you often checking your social feeds?

  • Do you feel anxious if you are unable to access your network?

  • Is social media the first thing you look at in the morning and before bed?

  • Does social media affect the way you feel about yourself (good and bad)?

  • Is your self-esteem linked to the external validation you get from social networks?

If you find yourself answering yes to any of these questions, then you may want to consider if you have the healthiest relationship with social media and what you want to do about it.

I will show you how to be free from social media addictions.

First of all, let’s understand why this happens, as I believe that we cannot fix what we don’t understand.

What happens to your mind when you use social media?

Social media is addictive. Neuroscientists have compared social media interaction to producing the same neural circuitry as drugs and gambling.

When someone uses something addictive or experiences something rewarding, such as successful social interactions, dopamine levels rise.

Social media stimulates dopamine, rewarding, and motivating our behaviour. The mind is wired to want to repeat this rewarding behaviour, leading to social media addiction.

How to have a healthier relationship with social media:

Now that you understand what social media is doing to your mind and how that may affect your behaviour - and the lives of those you care about - you can decide what you want to do about it.

1. Turn the sounds, ringer, and vibration off on your phone. This allows you to commit to certain periods of time without being tempted to look at your phone secondary to an auditory cue.

2. Put your phones in the middle of the table at mealtimes. Whoever reaches for the phone first pays for dinner or does the dishes.

3. Turn off your notifications on all of your applications. Give yourself certain times during the day when you check your phone for messages and stick to those times. This gives you long breaks in between when you’re off the phone. Yes, there will be a buildup of messages during your allotted time, but put the phone down when you’re done going through them.

4. Put on timers. There are apps that offer timers that can be set up for total media time or by the application. Put these controls on your phone to prevent yourself from getting sucked into the technology vortex.

Remember, on average, people spend more than two hours a day on their phones. Overuse of media applications can result in impaired relationships, poorer performance, depression, and anxiety. Be honest with yourself as you assess how best to set up your timers. Commit to limiting yourself.

5. Try to utilize looking at social media as a reinforcer as opposed to indulging in it as a habit. Pick activities you are avoiding and only allow yourself to indulge in social media if you complete the activity.

6. Take a digital moratorium. I have a surprising number of clients lately who have agreed to digital breaks. They recognize that the apps are causing them increased anxiety or sadness and are open to deleting them from their phones for a designated time period.

If you read this. Pause for a while ,think and act smart..... Good day Mate !!!!!

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