Healthy Habit #10: Adress Addictive Behaviors - Are You Addicted to Social Media?

As adults growing up without smartphones and social media, it would be impossible to predict what a huge impact social connectivity would have in our lives. If you feel you are becoming addicted to social media, you are not alone. Did you know there is a noun, Nomophobia, that is a proposed phobia that describes being out of contact with one’s smartphone? Well believe it, it IS a thing.

Do you feel completely out of control if your leave your phone at home? For us Floridians, there was mass panic last month when we feared more for the loss of our cell service than the loss of property or even life!

An eye-opening study in Seoul, Korea – where more people are connected to digital devices (over 67%) than anywhere in the world, as well as a U.S. study conducted at UCLA, has revealed some alarming information about the developing brains of young people. They’re spending upwards of 7 hours a day attached to their iPads, smartphones, computers and gaming consoles. And the effects to their brains are proving to be very damaging.

“Digital Dementia”, a term coined by top German neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer in his 2012 book of the same name, is a term used to describe how overuse of digital technology is resulting in the breakdown of cognitive abilities in a way that is more commonly seen in people who have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness.

There is good news - this addiction can be reversed, although it will take some will power.

7 steps you can take to beat your social media addiction:

1. Turn Off Your Notifications

When you stop notifications from disturbing your normal routine, you might find it easier to concentrate on your daily tasks and not get distracted so easily.

2. Limit Yourself

Set a timer on your watch or phone, to limit the amount of time you spend on social media. Choose a limit depending on the severity of your addiction – say an hour a day, which equates to seven hours per week – and whenever you check your accounts, start your timer going.

3. Get A New Hobby

You may have a lot more free time on your hands now that you're trying to cut down on your social media usage, so why not pick up a new hobby to fill your spare time? You could learn a new skill or do something you've always wanted to do but never had the time.

4. Spend More Time With Your Loved Ones

Instead of keeping up to date with your friends' and family members' lives through a screen, spend time with them in the real world and reconnect with them.

5. Make It A Treat

Look at social media as a treat. You might not buy an artisanal coffee everyday or get your nails done every week, but you may reward yourself with these kinds of small treats when you feel like you deserve it.

6. Meet People IRL

There are so many ways you can meet people in real life. You could join a club, attend a talk, organize a get-together where all your friends bring a friend, or embark on a single's night.

7. Go Cold Turkey

Depending on how bad things have gotten, it might be time to go cold turkey. If you're spending more time on social media than you are interacting with people in real life, give yourself a reality check by having a holiday from social media.  Decide how long it's going to be, inform your friends online how long you'll be away and how they can reach you if they need you in person, and delete your apps.

The world is literally at your feet so don't sit around trapped in a virtual environment.  Get out from behind your screen and enjoy life's pleasures!

The 12 Habits of Highly Healthy People

The 12 Habits of Highly Healthy People

This group is an adjunct to our "12 Habits" program for MyAHE members. Although this group is open to all, only MyAHE members are eligible to utilize our 24alife personalized health app.

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