How to Stop Social Media From Eating Your Brain

I witnessed something disturbing on the bus a few weeks ago.

How can she even see what she is looking at?

What is she even looking for?

I think what horrifies me even more is that I know it is quite common for individuals to check social media in this way, with this regularity.

A subtle, insidious shift is happening

We have gotten to a point where we check our phones all of the time.

So what do we know?

I have been recently inspired by the writing of Cal Newport.

Then, what can we do about it?

If we are starting to realize just how bad all of this is for our mental health, what can we do about it? How do we transcend our need for the temporary high that we get from checking our favorite apps?

1. I do my best to live a disciplined life. I believe the more disciplined you are, the greater freedom you have to pursue your dreams.

If you know where your time is going, then you learn how to wisely maximize your time to do more activities that bring you joy.

2. For the apps that I use, I ask myself questions: What is the purpose of my using this app? What am I getting out of this? How does this help me meet my goals? Does it align with my core values?

If I can’t come up with any good answers, I discard the app.

3. If I know something really doesn’t bring me a lot of joy (Like Facebook) but I want to hold on to the app to stay in touch with some friends, I move the app somewhere on my phone where I won’t be compelled to check it.

By the way, Newport would argue that I’m adhering to the any-benefit mindset, which, according to him, is a really dumb way to make decisions . To that I exclaim, “I’m only human, Cal! I’m not willing to ditch all social media just yet.”

4. I try to break the cycle of an uncomfortable feeling leading to an automatic behavior by following my breathing. I meditate on a regular basis now, and I have noticed that, as my meditation skill increases, so does my ability to catch the desire to escape something. By focusing on my breath when an uncomfortable feeling arises, I come to understand what I’m actually feeling — and I avoid turning to a mindless activity to cover up the feeling.

Because checking social media non-stop is covering up feelings

Photo by Elijah Hiett on Unsplash

Mental Health Advocate | Author | Social Worker making mental health accessible | My free weekly mental health newsletter: newsletter.thementalhealthupdate.com

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