Therapist For Social Media Addiction
Why in the world do we keep picking up our phones or devices? Why do we keep looking at our social media accounts? When we’re bored, why can it be the first thing people reach to? Well, because our phones can trigger dopamine and oxytocin. It can even relieve cortisol.
We are not designed to feel good all the time. Our brain is not designed to release good feelings for no reason. Instead it’s programed to promote survival. These chemicals are usually released to help us meet a survival need of some kind. It looks at past experiences that have developed our brain and triggers these chemicals to use these neural pathways. It falsely turns them on.
So if our brain circuits are developed from our past experiences, our phone is triggering these happy chemicals in our past. Showing social support and bringing good news that we learn from social media.
Just like a drug. Dopamine and oxytocin can be metabolized. Meaning we need to have more and more of it to keep us happy. This is why just seeing a simple notification on our phones bring an excited feeling. As we continue to text the same person, the feeling goes down. We habituate to the feeling. This is why we get disappointed that there is nothing new to read or see in social media within the past 10 minutes you looked at it last. You’re brain is telling you to feed it. Feed it these chemicals that it’s come to love.
No wonder you keep thinking about your phone or that you reach for it unknowingly.
Can Social Media or Phones Be An Addiction
I remember going to the Maroon 5 concert in Salt Lake City Utah. Part way through his performance he stopped and said “I will not play the next song until every person puts their phone away.” People thought he was joking. He was not. It was a waiting game for about 5 minutes. Him calling people out, telling them how serious he was. He then proceeded to say, “You’re all going to regret coming to my concert and watching it through your phones. Live in the moment. Not try to capture it and really miss out.” I’ve remembered this since this was said. To me this is so powerful. We’re missing out on moments because we want to pick up our devices, we want to trick our brains to believe it’s making us happy. We need to stop living like this.
How To Stop Using Social Media Or My Phone
To stop using social media or your device; you must show great strength. It almost sounds silly to say you need to show strength, but see if you can do it. You’ll know what I’m talking about. A good way to help you stop using social media is to ask yourself your purpose for picking up your phone. Remind yourself that you’re looking for a way to feel good. If the device isn’t picked up for a necessity such as a phone call, put it down immediately. Step away and do something else that makes you happy. This can be anything. Draw, exercise, go outside, or socialize.
Just like it took time for your brain to get used to the chemicals you were producing by picking up your device, you need to give yourself time to unlearn this behavior.
Studies have shown that the most you use social media, the worse you feel. Don’t be trapped.
I have been practicing for the past 10 years. I'd like to talk about what is on my mind as a therapist. In turn, I hope to help my readers and clients.