All my life, I avoided social media like a plaque! Mainly because I didn't see the need to share what was happening in my life with everyone, be they friends let alone total strangers. Then, 8 months ago I wrote a children's book, started a blog and I was told if I wanted to get it seen by anyone at all, I had to join the social media band-wagon.
So reluctantly, I created a Facebook profile and page. I was further adviced to join a few groups which I did and that's where the addiction began. A few weeks in, I started getting likes for my posts and the feeling was amazing! Being a newbie, it felt like a natural high! (I've never been high before so I shouldn't really know what that feels like right? 😉😉
With every like, I wanted more so I went out to share more, engage more just so I could get my 'Like high fix'. When hubby will say something like, 'you seem to be spending quite a lot of time on your phone, I'd give him the evil eye that said 'come on, I've only been on my phone for a few minutes'- Not!! Try hours! 😊
I was completely distracted but always excused it as 'working to promote my blog'. The world almost seemed to fade out when I was going through my feed. I wanted to see what everyone was up to, what they were sharing, how I could be a part of it all.
I knew I'd hit rock bottom when, at 3 am, I was checking my phone to see you had clicked on my posts, who had commented, who had followed me etc. Sad I know, but it really happened and continues to happen to so many people.
Well, there is a logical explanation for this type of behaviour - research carried out by the Californian State University-Fullerton found that the brains of people who report compulsive urges to use Facebook/social media show some brain patterns similar to those found in drug addicts or problem gamblers. Ooops!
They found that peer approval on social media (e.g having people ‘like’ your photos on Facebook) releases dopamine in the brain. This is the same chemical that is released when you take drugs, or when a gambling addict has a win at the pokies.
So true! All of a sudden, I had these total strangers feeding my ego with this sense of false relevance. Believe me it feels good, howbeit only temporarily and leaves you wanting more!
So I decided after my rock bottom that it was time to take back control of my life and I researched on how to detox and self regulate from social media. Here are a few tips that have been very helpful :
1.) Call out your addiction for what it really is : Don't try to excuse it, don't try to explain, just call it out and that's the 1st step in the healing process.
2.)Remind yourself of the simple pleasures you deprive yourself while on social media : The truth is, social media will still be there whenever you need to check your feed, post or like/comment on something. So take a break, go for a walk, read a book, make a meal, spend time with your family. Remind yourself of what life was like before social media - bet you felt like you could conquer the world 😊
3. If you really feel it's becoming too much, delete your account : even if only temporarily till you regain control. And if not possible, because you really need it for business purposes, then schedule your usage. A few minutes in the morning, afternoon and evening and stick to that set schedule.
In conclusion, I've worked through my addiction and I now love the way I use social media. It now serves as a positive medium to connect with like minded people while doing what I love.
What are your experiences with social media? How do you handle the sometimes overwhelm that comes with it?
Thanks for taking a few minutes off your busy schedule to read this post.
Wishing you all the love and happiness you deserve xxx