Many of us are guilty of spending too much time on social media. We scroll through our feeds mindlessly, checking for updates from friends, family, and our favorite celebrities. We become so engrossed in what others are doing that we forget to live our own lives. We may even start to feel like we are missing out if we don’t have enough likes or comments on our latest post.
But what if social media is actually addictive? What if we are so addicted to checking our phones and our feeds that we are damaging our relationships, our mental health, and our productivity?
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests social media can be addictive. A study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior found that people who use social media more often are more likely to display symptoms of addiction. These symptoms include feeling anxious or depressed when you can’t access social media, using social media in secret, and feeling the need to check social media multiple times per day.
The reason social media can be so addictive is that it activates the same pleasure centers in the brain that are activated by drugs and alcohol. When we get a like on our post or a positive comment, our brain releases dopamine, which makes us feel good. This reinforcement can keep us coming back for more, even when we know we should probably be doing something else.
If you’re worried that you may be addicted to social media, there are some things you can do to cut back. First, try to be aware of how much time you’re spending on social media. Second, set limits for yourself. If you only allow yourself to check social media for 30 minutes per day, you’ll be less likely to get sucked in. Finally, make an effort to connect with people in real life. Spend time with your family and friends, and put your phone away. You may find that you don’t miss social media as much as you thought you would.