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Don't Let Social Media Destroy You: Ways To Manage Social Media Addiction With Mindful Habits

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Credits: Google

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a behavior that becomes compulsive or continues despite negative consequences. In 2023, 43% of Americans reported checking social media constantly, and 20% said social media is a source of stress.

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 In addition, interacting with social media can trigger a dopamine response in the brain, similar to that triggered by drug or alcohol use. That response can leave you wanting more and feeling addicted. Here's how to fight it.

In 2018, people with internet access worldwide spent an average of 144 minutes on social media every day. Yet research indicates that limiting social media use to 30 minutes a day is optimal for mental health.

Go on a social media cleanse: Challenge yourself to go a certain time without checking social media, whether it's for a few hours or an entire week. One 2023 study found that some students who went for five days without social media experienced a "sense of serenity," although others were afraid of missing out.

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 Delete apps, or disable notifications from social media: Most people check into social media mindlessly, so put a small barrier in the way by turning off notifications. If you don't see a social media icon or alert every time you pick up your phone, you're less likely to spend time there.

Invest in Relationships: Don’t mistake activity online for relationships. Seek out people with whom you can connect in real time and place. Use social media as the starting point for relationships, rather than the end. Leverage your neighborhood app to find people who want to form a knitting club, but then get together in person regularly. Build your professional network so you can find your next role, but be intentional about grabbing coffee with the handful of contacts who mean the most to you.

Set limits and stick to them. Most phones and tablets allow you to see the time you've spent on certain apps. Set a limit for your time spent on social media and stick to it, or use an app that blocks social media after you've hit your limit. For teens, the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that social media use not interfere with activities like family meals, exercise, or "unplugged downtime."

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Dedicate time to hobbies or activites. A hobby or new activity can help curb your desire to check in to social media. "The idea here is to fill up your free time with things that you enjoy that are good for you," Sternlicht says. "Naturally you will find less time to be on social media and more time to be present in life, and hopefully even socialize in person instead of through a screen."

 

 

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