Social media is pervasive. It's tied to most people's personal and professional lives, and sometimes, it can feel hard to escape. While social media can be a very positive force, it can also be overwhelming. In fact, spending too much time on social media has been linked to loneliness, moodiness, and obsessive behavior. If you're feeling the negative effects of social media, it might be time to take a break. Check out these 5 symptoms of social media overload to find out if you need time apart from your favorite social sites.
1. You Can't Stop
What's the first thing you do when you get bored? If your answer was to go on social media, then you might need a technology detox. As it turns out, the brains of internet addicts look very similar to the brains of people who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. In fact, some studies have shown that people can experience psychological withdrawal from the internet. Start out by turning off notifications on your phone and home computer. Then, delete social media apps off your phone. Test yourself to only be on social media for a small amount of time per day, or only when it's associated with your job.
2. You Compare Yourself to Others
It's very common for people to compare themselves to others. However, it's not necessarily a healthy behavior. If you're constantly measuring things like your successes and failures against others' successes and failures, you may have trouble finding intrinsic happiness because worth is always related to whether you did better than someone else. On social media, most people don't report about their failures, and even when they're failing, they make it look like they're still succeeding. So, if you use social media as a measure for comparison, you could end up feeling really bad about yourself.
3. You Have Trouble Sleeping
Sleep habits can be impacted by your social media use. If you're like most people, you probably scroll through your feed just before hitting the sack. However, research has shown that the light emitted from most mobile devices can limit serotonin production, making it harder for you to fall asleep. Instead of opening up a social app next time you can't sleep, reach for a book or play a sleep meditation. These tools can help slow down your thoughts so you can stop the nervous chatter in your mind that could be keeping you up.
4. You Have a Hard Time Concentrating
These days, attention spans seem to be getting shorter and shorter. Spending too much time on social media could be partly to blame for that. Each day, your brain is inundated with information. You're taking in images, text, and sound constantly that jam up your thinking processes. It can be really hard to focus on one thing when so many things are coming at you at once. As your brain gets used to processing short bits of info at a mile a minute, it becomes harder to achieve a state of deep thinking.
5. You Don't Really Go Out
Since it's become so easy to communicate with people without seeing or sometimes even hearing them, people are less likely to leave their house for fun. People need people. It might not be a fact that you like, but it's important for your wellbeing that you spend time with others. Face-to-face interaction provides a human experience that online interaction doesn't. For example, social media can cause some people to feel lonely based on their lack of followers, likes, and shares, but in the real world, you don't have to be consumed with those things.
Changing Your Habits
Once you've done an initial detox, think about how you can change your use of social media so that it doesn't become a problem for you again. Try to discover tools that help you develop proper boundaries with using social media.