Problem: Social media dependence is making you lonely, sad and jealous
Step 1: Understand the problem
Using Facebook conjures up a perception of social isolation. Other solitary activities don’t have the same effect because you’re not watching other people have fun. The science is in, studies regularly show Facebook being linked to less moment-to-moment happiness and less life satisfaction. The more you use it, the worse it is. On top of that, the more we use social media, the more socially isolated we perceive ourselves to be. Turns out, perceived social isolation is one of the worse things for our brains and our health.
Another killer is that when on social media, we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is a better version of you. Whether this comparison goes up or down (I’m better than him/her, he/she is better than me) both types of comparisons make us feel like crap. This comparison adds to the social isolation but also breeds that giant green beast, jealousy. This jealousy can create a cycle of one-upsmanship that never ends well. We all know that the majority of us only post our best stuff on Facebook, which creates this terrible façade of perfection. That’s not real life. You don’t get to know people when everything is curated. The relationships created on social media are sad simulacrums of the real thing.
Finally, when we feel bad, we keep going back to social media thinking it will help. We think one more hit of the ‘book is going to do the trick but it just makes us feel worse.
Step 2: Be mindful of how bad it is
Over the next three days we will discover just how bad it is. First we will track the number of times we are distracted by social media. Second we will track how many times we use social media and then feel worse about ourselves. Once we diagnose the issue, we will start working on strategies of change.