Confessions from a social media addict
Hi, I’m Emily, and I’m a Social Media Addict ...
Now before you jump in with …
“Whaaaaat aren’t you supposed to be a zen mindfulness coach?”
“Addict … isn’t that a bit extreme”?
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines addiction as “persistent compulsive use of a [thing] known by the user to be harmful”.
Social media use has been linked to increased sadness, depression, anxiety, jealousy, social isolation, sleep deprivation and body image issues and to decreased happiness, life satisfaction, well being, and productivity (thanks to time wasting, increased distractibility and lessening attention spans).
But despite my knowledge of this, I still find myself persistently and compulsively using the damned thing!
I know all the tricks.
I’ve tried turning off notifications, moving the apps off my phone’s home screen, hiding them in a folder, killing my facebook newsfeed, deleting the apps and going cold turkey, changing my settings to grayscale so the pictures don’t look as pretty, using apps to monitor the time I’m spending, using airplane mode, scheduling time to check the apps.*
But my ‘addiction’ seems only to be getting worse.
Before launching Be More You I rarely used social media, and my compulsive phone checking was restricted to checking work emails.
But since the birth of Be More You and my more active use of social platforms to promote my new biz, I have noticed an unwelcome compulsiveness creep into my life.
I, of course, advise my clients to bring increased awareness to their digital wellbeing … but I’m not always as good at taking my own advice ...
Recently I’ve found myself constantly checking the likes on my latest post. Scrolling my feed and comparing myself to others. Checking my phone as soon as I wake up (instead of heading straight to meditate), when I’m waiting on hold, even while I’m blowdrying my hair!!
Even while writing this blog I reached for my phone for a quick distraction. I did ‘the lap’: check facebook messenger>check emails>check instagram>get sidetracked watching a few instastories and observe a subtle anxiety spread through my body as I compare my life, my business, my day to the shiny days, lives and careers of others.
I distracted myself as, subconsciously I thought it might make me feel better, remove me from the task at hand and give me a wee boost of motivation. But studies have shown the reverse is true, and that quitting social media boosts happiness.
It’s no accident that I (and so many others - go on, be honest ...) are addicted to social media. These platforms are cleverly designed to capture our time and attention by remaining as engaging (and addictive!) as possible. (Check out this article for some of the ways social platforms are manipulating our addictive tendencies to keep us coming back another scroll).
So what am I going to do about it?
Using www.stickk.com/ , I've put my money where my mouth is, and committed to using social media only to the extent necessary to connect with friends and promote my biz. I won’t bore you with the details but, in short, I've made a 12 week commitment to use/check and scroll social media (including my email accounts) significantly less than I have been. I’ll be checking in every week with www.stickk.com/ and my accountability buddy (thanks Mr M!) and if, during any week, I don’t uphold my commitment a chunk of my hard earned cash will be winging its way out of my bank account!
So, you heard it here first: my public proclamation in desperate attempt to hold myself accountable to kick this addiction once and for all.
Now, what are you going to?
* these tricks are all amazing so I strongly suggest you try a few if your use of social media is vering on the side of addiction. Check out this article for more ideas.