Many of us have become hooked on the constant stream of texts, Facebook notifications, and Instagram likes that flood our screens daily and cause emotional highs and lows. Social media habits definitely influence on our mental health, even causing depression and anxiety. So what should we do about it?
In his book Too Much of a Good Thing: Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone? by Dr. James A. Roberts, he suggests that self-control is the key to finding your digital “sweet spot” - where you call the shots instead of your smartphone controlling you. Here are his top five tips:
1. Set phone-free zones. Cell phones should be forbidden in certain places at home and work. Pick and choose where in your house you want to make smartphone “free” zones such as the dinner table or the bedroom.
2. Out of sight, out of mind. Designate two to three times a day when you allow yourself to check your smartphone for updates and store your phone out of sight the remainder of the time.
3. Focus on friends. There’s nothing more annoying than hanging out with someone who is constantly on the phone. When you’re with friends, resist the urge scroll through your feeds and encourage them to do the same.
4. Pit technology against technology. There are a plenty of apps that monitor and control your smartphone use. Dr. Roberts’ suggests Moment, which tells you how many times you handle your iPhone in a given day and how much time you’ve spent on each activity. It also allows you to set time limits to help you curb your phone and social media use.
5. Set virtual boundaries. Turn off notifications for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to remove the constant stream of notifications that grab your attention. Then, when you check your phone at the end of the day, all of the notifications will appear on your phone at once, and you can take time to enjoy them.
We also suggest unsubscribing to any feeds or emails that make you feel bad about yourself or your skills. Social media does not exist to judge you or make you question your worth.
With MLK coming up on Monday, it’s a great time to start your digital diet. Here in Sacramento, CA there is a Walk for the Dream, an opportunity to put Dr. King’s words and ideals into practice by inviting others from different races, religions or backgrounds to walk together and listen to one another. So, this MLK I plan to put down my phone and connect with someone on a walk.
Have any other tips? Share them!