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How to prevent social media addiction in 4 steps

people using social media
Source: Unsplash

We are still victims of heavy social media usage and this is very unhealthy. We enjoy it so much that the question of how to prevent our social media addiction rarely surfaces in our thoughts. Series of studies continue to link this to depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. When we use social media excessively, there is the tendency to believe that we are living the worst lives because of what others’ lives look like online. We can only derive the benefits of social media if we use it in moderation. Although monitoring your usage in the beginning can seem pretty difficult, you can start by reminding yourself that:

  1. your time is limited and valuable.
  2. you have got goals to work on – be it short term or long term.
  3. your mental health comes first.

Now that you have done this and taken this quiz, here is a step-by-step guide on how to prevent your social media addiction.

1. Plan what you want to do there today

We do things because we have a reason for doing so. For instance, we go to a shop because there are items to be bought, or we go to the cinema because we want to watch that popular movie everyone’s talking about. Treat social media that way. Deciding what you want to do there can get a bit irking given the fact you are not used to doing that; but there is always the first time.
Having an idea of what you are going to do on social media makes you spend your time wisely – in a way – since your focus will be on getting something done. Things you can plan on doing include checking news, watching some funny videos, just to name a few.

2. Visit the social platforms at designated times

The way you are required to begin a class or job at a certain time is the same way you have to set the time(s) you want to launch that social media app. Make a firm decision on when exactly you want to go on social media; let’s say after 8AM in the morning, at 3PM in the afternoon, or at 8PM in the evening. Everyone has a personalised schedule so times might vary.

Tip: You might be worried about what you will be missing out on social media (Fear Of Missing Out), but your main focus should be on making sure you do not miss your plans; they are worth more 😉.

3. Setting a countdown timer

Things might get harder here but trust me, you have got this. Before you launch that app or make a visit to the website of your favourite social network, do yourself a favour by deciding the amount of time you want to spend there. Many people just visit social media, scrolling through an endless feed which makes them loose track of valuable time. Experts suggest spending a total of 30 minutes or less a day leads to health benefits. With that said, you can decide if you want to split the 30 minutes into equal intervals and decide what you want to dedicate those minutes to – like responding to messages, etc…

4. Set rewards and punishments

Reward and punishment is still an effective way of modifying unwanted behaviour. According to an excerpt from Tony Robbins, “By rewarding yourself in the moment, your brain elicits positive emotions, leading to the realisation that your efforts result in a positive reward.” So this will be extremely helpful, especially in a situation as daunting as this one. Plan on rewarding yourself with a treat when you successfully moderate your usage or punish yourself (by avoiding that treat) if it does not go as expected. This will help you gradually adjust to your new habit.

I wish you the best of luck and hope this article was helpful. Feel free to leave a reply and share with all those you care about.

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