Our social media addiction can lead to a host of health issues.
In a typical week I log in to my social media accounts approximately 300 hours. These might not seem like a ton, but this adds up.
I try to avoid eating take out or going out to restaurants with my wife, but social media has the ability to become a crutch.
What happens when you use social media too much
Here are a few symptoms that may be symptomatic of social media addiction:
- Racing thoughts
- Eating disorders
- A constant sense of impending failure
- You are constantly anxious about everything
- Eating too much, or thinking about it
- Feeling bloated
It gets better when you do:
- Negative feelings about yourself
- Relationships, especially when you realize you are being misled
- You can’t perform self care
- You notice any of the symptoms above more or less frequently
These symptoms might not make your day feel gloomy and anxious, but they are definitely symptomatic of your social media addiction.
These symptoms can also be a function of isolation.
Social media is the new water cooler. Before you had to actually interact with people face to face.
Now, even in small spaces, you can interact with social media. It is always available.
When you lose touch with people, the gap becomes larger and larger. Your long term relationships may suffer as a result.
Social media causes anxiety and other symptoms
People typically have social media for reasons like:
- Social support
- Writing on a schedule
- Feeding of attention
- Finding friends
- Keeping up with everyone
- Making connections with like-minded people
- Finding work
- Building a business
Social media has turned into a giant cage.
Your fears make social media your emotional center
As soon as you log on, you are on a constant state of anxiousness and anxiety.
That is because you are a slave to your fears.
You are afraid that you will miss a message. Or that someone will comment on your post, and you will look stupid or say the wrong thing.
Or perhaps someone will call you and ask you out on a date, and you’re not ready to date.
Or perhaps your friends will ask you a question, and you don’t know the answer.
Your fears make social media your emotional center.
You can prevent social media anxiety
It seems like such a straightforward solution: Turn off all of the social media.
Yes, I know, but it might seem like too much of a hassle to turn off everything you are addicted to.
There is another way to deal with your social media addiction: Reduce your exposure to social media.
This is a great solution. Your anxiety and the severity of your symptoms will also decrease.
Let’s say that you use social media for 3 hours each day. If you reduce your exposure to 5 hours per day, then you will reduce your anxiety by an hour.
Or, you can take a break from your social media accounts for a week.
That is a huge step towards dealing with your social media addiction.
Our fear sells social media
As I’ve noted above, your fears are what sell social media.
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is probably the most famous. This is due to all the media exposure of people seeing other people on social media.
You think to yourself, “why aren’t I sharing and adding my own experiences? I’m not interesting enough.”
Let’s take a closer look at FOMO.
Fear of missing out is a chemical response. It happens when a situation becomes so threatening that it activates your hypothalamus, which controls “fight or flight”.
This causes a release of adrenaline and cortisol, which causes your body to overreact to the situation.
Social media triggers FOMO because we always want to be a part of the experience. You only post when you are doing something new.
You constantly share to fill up the “Activity Stream” on Facebook. You want to stay relevant and participate.
This can be very comforting to your life, and it’s the reason why you keep posting all the time.
You still try to look good. You still want to impress others.
You still want to stay relevant and relevant to your friends.
Because you care so much, you do what everyone else is doing. You compete and compare yourself to your peers.
You try to make yourself more likeable by doing everything that you’re not.
This is not good.
Fear always makes us do irrational things. It may look like rational decision-making, but it is the exact opposite.
The key is to be honest with yourself. When the reason for FOMO is due to social comparison, you can see it for what it is.
Cut yourself off from the conspiracy theories
I don’t know about you, but I watch many social media videos and news stories because I’m bored. And, there are so many that it’s hard to avoid.
If you spend time watching social media videos, you are going to see all kinds of strange conspiracy theories. The entire system of the world is a big conspiracy that is run by the government.
The CIA has a mind control machine that is what controls you. The Freemasons run the world. Google is secretly running all of your web searches. And, so on.
It is very difficult to watch all these nonsense. I’m sure that your fears will get the better of you.
While there is some truth to these conspiracy theories, not all of them are true.
Social media has a huge impact on our reality. You will see the most outrageous things on social media.
I don’t want to contribute to this madness. I want to feel happy, not paranoid.
A great way to combat all the social media nonsense is to turn off your social media and read only non-fiction books.
If you enjoy reading, then you will have an amazing time with your mind instead of reading about other people’s lives.