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Are you addicted To Social Media? Here Are 7 Steps Of Recovery

Social Media is in itself not a bad thing — it is we who use it either wisely or inconsiderately. It not only allows us to reconnect with people, share our interests and helps bond over it, but it also removes the obstacles of time and distance,

Neha’s husband got transferred to a remote city in the beautiful state of Madhya Pradesh. They lived in a small housing society and her husband had a busy and hectic job. Neha had no companions there, but her many hobbies kept her busy.

She had always detested social media (SM) and thought of it as a complete waste of time. By her husband’s suggestion, one day she reluctantly made an SM account and started sharing the pictures and videos of the exotic birds, animals, insects and flowers.

Soon the number of her followers increased, and she began getting several messages from people who shared her interest.

Not only that, she found companionship via social media, but also got to learn various new things from her followers.

Social Media Addiction

Social Media is not inherently bad

Social Media is in itself not a bad thing — it is we who use it either wisely or inconsiderately. It not only allows us to reconnect with people, share our interests and helps bond over it, but it also removes the obstacles of time and distance, simultaneously expanding our network and connections.

However, if we use it mindlessly, it has multiple severe negative impacts too. We need to be too vigilant, or else we may fall victim to its bad effects.

Are you addicted?

How to know if we are using our social media accounts correctly or not? Answer the following question in order to know that.

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  •  Do you check your social media accounts every fifteen minutes?
  •  While doing other chores, do you constantly think if someone has liked or commented on your posts?
  •  Do you spend quite a few hours per day surfing through websites and pages?
  •  Is social media the last thing that you see before going to bed?

If your answer to most of these questions is NO, you are safe, and you may move on to other articles. If your answer to most of these questions is YES, please read on.

Abhijit Naskar in his book Mucize Insan: When The World is Family writes, “It is okay to own a technology, what is not okay is to be owned by technology.”

Most of us today are owned by technology and have given too much power to these algorithms. We need to identify the problem and nip it in the bud.

Following are some measures to stop your social media addiction:

Turn off the notifications

The very first step towards detoxing your mind is to turn off the notifications that act as a constant reminder of the happenings around.

Once we have seen the notification, the temptation is too difficult to resist; so it’s better to do away with them.

When the constant distractions in the form of notifications are gone, concentrating on other important tasks becomes much easier. The upside of turning off the notifications will be that after a gap of few hours when you open your account you will find an accumulation of messages.

Instead of the frustration that comes with constantly checking the sites and not finding anything, it will become a rewarding experience.

Fix a time and duration

Does being on social media help you in your spiritual, mental, emotional growth, or makes you happy? Do you really want to have those SM apps?

If yes, then you need to fix a time for your surfing.

Next, decide for how long you will be there; ten, fifteen, twenty minutes — you decide what works best for you. Put an alarm and when the limit is reached, gather your will power and get off the mobile right away.

It will be difficult initially, but you will get used to it slowly.

Accomplish something first

When we were kids, our mother used to tell us — if you finish this task, I’ll make your favourite dish for you. I don’t know if it was right or wrong, but this strategy always worked.

Similarly, every morning set a task for yourself, and tell yourself, ‘I will check my social media, only when I have finished this task.’

That way, you will have a sense of accomplishment every time you finish a chore, and the time you spend on SM will be drastically reduced, given that the task you gave yourself was not a cakewalk.

Social Media Addiction

Delete the unused apps

Check your mobile, and you will be amazed to see that you have so many unused, unwanted apps in your mobile. Delete them!

Uninstall them all, and you will not be tempted to unnecessarily open then every time you get their notification or stumble upon them by chance.

Go on a holiday

Going on a holiday doesn’t mean you have to go on a holiday on some beach, it simply means you have to take a holiday from your social media.

Deactivate all your accounts for a week, tell your friends about this beforehand, and tell them to call/email you if anything urgent comes up.

No matter how tempted you are to find out what’s trending on Twitter or what’s happening on Instagram, be firm and reactivate your accounts only after a week.

It will be difficult for the first few days, but you’ll start enjoying it slowly. Pen down in a diary the duration of your social media holiday and how you felt about it on a daily basis.

This diary will help you plan your next holiday and keep a track of how different your second holiday was from the first one.

Get a hobby

What to do with the extra time that you are getting now that you have deactivated your accounts? Think of the things that make you happy — is it drawing, listening to music, reading, playing carom?

If nothing comes to mind, then step out of your house and go out for a walk. It is a well known fact that exercise helps release the feel-good chemicals — endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine; and suppress the hormones that cause anxiety.

Nurture this new hobby and frequently reward yourself with your favourite dish, going out for coffee with friends for adopting this new routine.

As a human being, the tendency to share our happiness with others is innate. So, in the new settings, with whom will you share the progress you have made in your new hobby?

The daily journal comes to your rescue again. Note down everything there and share your thoughts and feelings in it.

Social Media Addiction

Call your friends and family

My friend Shuchi went to Spain and used to post lovely pictures of her, enjoying with friends, roaming around, partying, and having fun.

After a couple of months, she came back, and we met in person. She told me about all the problems she was facing there — related to food, language, accommodation and other such things.

I was amazed.

‘But your social media is full of happy pictures,’ I said.

She grudgingly replied, ‘Who posts their sad pictures on social media? I go out with my friends once a week, and we party. Later I post seven or eight pictures of that event. The rest of the six days of the week, I am alone and sulking, but I never post any picture of that period. Because again, who posts their sad pictures?’

Her response was an eye-opener for me.

All of us want to project our happy image to the world and rarely show what’s truly happening in our lives. So, by looking at someone’s social media profile, we cannot know what they are going through.

In order to know that, we need to meet them in person or maybe call them. Try to call your friends or arrange a meeting with them, and you will be amazed to see how rewarding experience it is when we meet people in person.

The bottom line is

Depending on how you use social media, it can be your best friend or worst enemy. You use it in moderation, and it becomes your best friend, you overdo it, and it becomes a nasty enemy.

It helps to stay in touch with our loved ones and to share our thoughts and happiness with others. The downside of social media manifests itself when we are addicted to it and cannot imagine our life without it.

In most of the cases, it is possible to cut back by yourself. However, if you find yourself unable to do it, you can always consult a therapist.

Image Source: Delmaine Donson and NARIN EUNGSUWAT via Getty Images, Koondon Images and Sketchify, free on Canva Pro 

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About the Author

Swati Pandey

I am an avid reader, a writer, and a yoga instructor. With my writings, I want to contribute my share in making a truly egalitarian society. Read my short story collection "MEZAME" on Amazon Kindle read more...

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