How much time would you say you spend on social media each day? Thirty minutes, one hour?
What if I told you that, on average most people spend about two hours and twenty-five minutes scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, you name it, every day. Like sugar and cigarettes, social media is addictive and can negatively impact your mental and physical health.
So how can you break the habit? Let’s start by explaining why social media is addictive and what signs to look out for before discussing the changes you need to make.
- How social media impacts your health?
- 7 ways to identify you have a social media addiction.
- How to break the habit.
Why is social media addictive?
It may have started as a way to connect with friends and family, but social media is rapidly becoming a compulsion. It’s one of the first things you check on your phone after waking and the last thing you view before going to bed. And it’s continually, and subliminally, influencing your brain.
Mindlessly scrolling through posts, images, and videos may seem harmless, but dopamine signals associated with pleasure are being released in your brain. It feels good, and your brain recognises this, so you begin to spend more and more time on it.
But the reward is short-lived. Eventually, those good feelings wear off, and you find yourself reaching for your phone to kill a few more minutes. Monitoring social media wards off boredom, isolation, and, ironically, engaging with the world around you.
But what are the side effects of overuse?
How social media impacts your health?
Like any addiction, once the high wears off, you’ll find yourself on edge, unable to concentrate, and desperate to get your next fix. It’s all-consuming. You engage less with friends and family and increasingly look to your phone for comfort and companionship.
You also become more sedentary, preferring to explore virtually and live life vicariously through your social media app.
You might not even be aware that you’re seeing up to 5,000 adverts in a day—images of the ideal figure, the home you could own, how to become a millionaire overnight, the clothes you need. Subconsciously, these networks are chipping away at your confidence, presenting a false reality, and you’re buying into it.