You know you’re addicted to Facebook if you tell yourself you’re done checking it for the day, only to find yourself right back into it a couple of hours later. Our bodies get conditioned to work on autopilot and we’ll find ourselves pressing buttons on our phones or computers without thinking about it.
If you catch yourself doing these things and not being able to control yourself, chances are you are addicted to Facebook. This is an increasingly worrisome matter, especially among young people.
We’ll explore symptoms of a Facebook addiction, how it evolves, and ways you can detox from Facebook.
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Symptoms of a Facebook Addiction
Psychologists recognize a Facebook addiction as a compulsive and excessive way to distract yourself or improve your mood. The term excessive can be relative, of course. The general rule of thumb for excessive use is if it gets in the way of your normal activities.
For example, you may find yourself having the intention of exercising outdoors and you give yourself 20 minutes to get off the app, but it turns into 45 minutes. It may not seem significant, but at this point, you’re letting Facebook activity take over other things you want to accomplish during your day.
Another example is finding yourself checking Facebook updates first thing in the morning and several times throughout the day. This may seem harmless, but if you add up the time you spend on the app, it will equal precious hours that you sacrificed on oftentimes meaningless commenting, or “likes” instead of engaging in other purposeful activities. Soon, you’ll find yourself procrastinating important goals or alienating people.
A red flag is when you use the app to boost your mood or escape your troubles. Once you get into the habit of using Facebook to feel better, it becomes an unhealthy coping mechanism.
If you experience difficulty sleeping because you’ve been on the app late at night, it is a definite sign you have a problem.
Why is Facebook Addictive?
There’s a science behind addictions to social media. It has been found that through “likes” and other positive feedback, social media platforms activate the brain’s reward center – it offers instant gratification.
When you post something on Facebook, it immediately lets you know who responded and how. Positive reviews of your posts in the form of comments or “likes” provides an immediate boost to your self-esteem. After some time, you start to crave these positive affirmations, especially when you’re going through a difficult time in your life.
This translates into your body becoming accustomed to relieving negative emotions with a boost from Facebook as a drug or other activities can.
How to Detox From Facebook
There are concrete steps you can take to detox from Facebook. Once you realize that the app is getting in the way of having a normal life, you’ll start to pay attention to your habits around it. This is the very first step in the process. Let’s explore it further.
Track Your Usage
Keeping an eye on how much you use Facebook in one particular day will let you know exactly where you stand. Notice patterns of your usage, perhaps you use it when you’re on a break from work, or first thing in the morning, or on your commute on the train. Also, take note if it interferes with certain activities.
You’ll be able to identify patterns and make concrete decisions to break them such as:
- Leaving your phone in your car or at home.
- Using an alarm clock in the morning instead of your phone. Keeping our phone away from your bedroom is a very healthy habit.
Decide to Take a Break
Choose to take a break for a determined amount of time. Start slow and reach your goal to stay motivated, then quickly elevate your goals. For example, you can swear off Facebook for one entire day, then do three days, then two weeks. You choose your own pace and specifications, the important factor is that you meet your goals and continue to progress.
Decrease Your Activity
You don’t have to delete your account, but you can commit to creating fewer posts and logging in less frequently. You can designate your weekly activity that truly reflects a significant change in your routine. It’s different for everyone, you have to determine how much activity on Facebook allows you to feel you’re in control of your time and habits.
Be Mindful of Your Feeling When Using Facebook
Consciously become aware of your feelings and how you balance them. This skill is very important in your everyday life as you face the normal challenging of living. Ask yourself these important questions:
- What are my coping mechanisms?
- How do I overcome anxiety?
- What are the triggers that drive me into negative feelings?
- What strategy do I use to let go of anger?
- What are my emotional strengths and strategies to find balance?
Keeping a journal is a very helpful tool when it comes to becoming aware of your feelings and habits. It is very important for you to detect patterns. You’ll be able to write down your hopes and goals and come up with practical strategies to keep you on track.
Find Joy in Other Activities
Breaking patterns can be difficult sometimes, but when we replace unwanted activities with attractive hobbies it becomes much easier. There are many fun things to do in life. Try something that puts your body into action because living a sedentary life contributes to physical and mental health problems.
So, there you have it! A detox from Facebook is much simpler once you gain momentum. As you go through the process visualize yourself triumphant! Once you get over this addiction, you’ll gain so much strength that you’ll be able to tackle other challenges much more easily.