Because many of us spend so much time attached to our social media (one study shows as many as 40% of young people check Facebook at least every hour!) sometimes we need a little push in the right direction to help keep things in perspective. Here are some of my suggestions, as a psychologist and avid social media user:

  • Remember, You are so much MORE than all of this!

We can all use social media as a tool, but you don’t have to be a slave to it. Your moods don’t have to run high and low depending on what happens on social media. Your relationships in real-life don’t have to be impacted in extreme ways because of social media. Your self-esteem can actually come from INSIDE you, not from your numbers of likes, fans, or comments. Please be mindful that your social media presence does NOT speak to your awesomeness as a human being – Your true awesomeness is yours and it is REAL, no matter if two people or two thousand people get to see it. Human interaction flourished long before social media and it will continue to thrive long after it is gone. Just remember this.

  • If it Becomes too Much… Take a Break.

If you feel like you can’t gain perspective, or you just can’t put down the smartphone, it is time to step away and take a break. Try to allot yourself a specific time frame or window for social media use and stick to it. So maybe for a little while you will only login between 7-9pm. Think of all free time you will have! Or you can build up to taking a day off every week from social media, or even a week off every month. If you really want to just go for it, deactivate your accounts for a little while to gain some breathing room. You may be amazed to find that the world keeps spinning, and that your good friends still remain in contact with you. (If this is becoming compulsive and you just can’t stop logging in, you can install an APP like “Cold Turkey” that will block you from accessing certain social media sites. But I think you are strong enough to do it on your own.)

  • Do Something Mindful Away from the Computer.

Many of us have jobs and careers that keep us tethered to our computers, making social media a welcome distraction and only a click away! If you are spending a lot of time in front of a screen, then I strongly recommend you get up, stretch and go do something that reintegrates your mind back into the real world. There are so many activities you can partake in which are rewarding, will make you feel good and that will have nothing to do with social media. These can include cooking, crafting, dancing, yoga, running, making art, playing music, swimming, having sex, nature walks, meditation, hiking and so on. Instead of obsessively flicking through the page and reading updates, put down the phone, ground yourself, and find gratitude in the present moment. When you pull your face away from the screen you will realize that life is beautiful and it is happening all around us, always. Being mindful and appreciating the present moment will help you release the attachment to the instant gratifications of social media and bring you into a more peaceful, content place.

  • Spend time with people in REAL LIFE!

Perhaps the most important way to keep social media in perspective is to spend time interacting with people in real life, either by conversing in person, or speaking on the phone. Enjoy the nuances of the tone of voice and body language that you miss when using social media. Enjoy the fact that you get to connect in a truly deep meaningful way with someone. You can really show them you mean business about being present and sharing space with them by LEAVING YOUR PHONE AT HOME (or at least in the car). So many times in this life our interpersonal connections are interrupted by technology, it’s like we neglect the real people in our lives in favor of the icons buzzing on a screen. Please, recognize and value the actual people in your life who are right in front of you. Show them the respect they deserve by putting away the phone and shutting off the screen when you are spending time together. Amazing things can happen when people spend less time staring at their phones while in public and more time connecting to each other.

  • If you really have a problem, please SEEK HELP.

If you feel like you cannot control your social media usage, or if you think social media might be ruining your life or making you feel anxious or depressed, please seek help. Help can come by way of speaking to your friends, family, a school counselor, or in more extreme cases, enrolling in an intervention like this Teen Social Media Addiction program.  Please do not be afraid to talk about what is happening. Being addicted to social media is nothing to be ashamed of and you are not alone! In fact, there might be thousands and thousands of people compulsively addicted to social media (we really do not know for sure). If you suspect a friend or loved one might be addicted to social media, and this may be harming their life or making them depressed, please talk to them, and let them know (in real-life, not online) that you love and support them!

What other tips might you add to help people keep social media in perspective? Are you or is someone you know addicted to social media? Please message me or share your thoughts in the comments. Blessings and Love <3