It’s been approximately 3 minutes since I checked my phone. 3 minutes and I’m tempted to check it again. It’s been sitting right next to me as I type away; no notifications have popped up, no texts, no conversations. And yet I have a serious urge to just “make sure” someone else didn’t comment on my picture I posted on Instagram yesterday.
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Many of us think we are in control of our phones and the social media it possesses, but in reality our phones may be controlling us more than we think. And it can be a problem. Social media obsession has been known to cause anxiety and depression and has even led to a number of physical health problems such as neck aches, eye strain and headaches.
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And sure, many of us have tried to put the phone away. Tricks like leaving it on the other side of the room, turning it off for awhile or removing notifications. But after a few days, we somehow find ourselves back on Twitter, glued to our screen for hours at a time.
If we can’t break the social media habit, then what do we do? If the urge is so strong, how do we keep social media from ruining our lives? Simply turn your nasty habit into a positive. If you can’t beat em, join em (and make them smile-whoever “they” are).
1. Start Making Positive Posts
Yes, we all know that most people only put the “positive,” good things going on in life. I’m not asking you to share only your good side, feeding into the perpetual fake online reality. I’m asking you to share your gratitude. Share your thanks. Share things you love. Put yourself out there and share things that make you happy instead of things that make you seem perfect.
2. Be Real
When you do decide to share the negative, don’t be a downer. Don’t wallow in the bad. If you want to share your feelings, try to offer a positive anecdote at the end. If you’re ranting about politics, maybe offer a positive solution. If you are talking about your deep feelings that are sad, maybe leave a note at the end asking people who feel the same way to connect with you. Be your true self, offer something more than just the bad stuff, and make this social platform mean more than just a way to express your emotional baggage.
3. Comment With Love
It’s all too easy to hide behind our screens. Sometimes we just wanna tell someone like it is, even if it means being rude. But don’t even go there! Adding anonymous negativity is what makes the internet a dark place. Instead, make a rule to yourself to comment with love and positivity. Even if the post is strange, weird or you don’t like it, find at least one positive thing to say. It will challenge you to think differently and you will change the internet one little bit at a time.
4. Start a Positive Hashtag Movement
A movement doesn’t have to include a mass number of users using the hashtag. It could simply be a deliberate and consistent hashtag you use to keep you grounded. Try to pick a positive hashtag that makes you feel inspired and write a corresponding tweet or picture. And how cool would it be if people actually started using it??
5. Stop Comparing
Easier said than done. But instead of looking at a blogger you love and thinking “I wish I was that successful” or “I want to be that thin” or “If only I could travel the world”, think of how they can inspire and mentor you! If you want that round-the-world trip, research how YOU can get there. If you want their success, find out how this person can push you to be a better you. And look at them with happiness and gratefulness, not envy or jealousy.
6. Try to Limit Your Time
We all mean well when we say “5 more minutes,” but this year it’s time to actually take control. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time on all social media (like 20 minutes before you get out of bed or an hour on all accounts after school). Enough time to feel like you enjoyed yourself without going crazy. Set a timer to remind yourself and when the time is up, reward yourself with a sweet treat, some TV time, or a phone call to your bestie.