Do you sometimes wonder if the time you spend online is helping you live your life to the fullest?
As someone who just joined the social media and online world one year ago, I was stunned at how quickly it began to insidiously take over my life. I was determined to take my life back. My favorite way to do that is listed below. It is NOT just a time management issue. Social media use can be quite addictive. This can sneak up on us. Do you or anyone you love suffer from any of these…?
Ten Symptoms of Internet Use Disorder
- A preoccupation with the Internet or Internet gaming, strong desire for the internet, anticipating next online session, internet activity increases as an important part of life.
- Withdrawal symptoms when no longer able to access the Internet: irritability, anxiety, boredom, depression
- An increasing tolerance to the stimuli which means they require more time and greater Internet use in order to achieve the same satisfaction
- Difficulty limiting or controlling time spent on internet. Believing it is simply a time management issue, not an increasing compulsion.
- A disregard for the negative consequences on health, happiness, productivity and relationships that are likely linked to the internet use in the first place.
- Using the Internet to replace or make up for a lack of human relationships and real-life social communication
- Loss of positive interests, hobbies, or entertainment as a result of, and with the exception of, internet use.
- Failed attempts at quitting your Internet overuse
- Using the Internet as a tool to escape from or to improve general depression, anxiety and sadness
- Hiding from others the actual time spent, and the personal toll internet involvement is stealing from your life.
Set yourself free from the lure of the internet
I spend more time online now that I write this blog, maintain my Pinterest boards, and have a Facebook account. I love the significant benefits the online world offers. But I do feel MUCH better when I give myself blocks of time when the internet is not even an option. I have used an app called AntiSocial. There are others worth searchng for. You simply set the amount of time and the social media you want to be blocked from for a chosen amount of time. The freedom of mind it gives me is priceless. The amount of time it gives back to me is so worth the minimal investment. (Much cheaper than a psychotherapist!) No willpower needed. You set the amount of time you want to be without access to social media and choose what you want to block. You can also choose to block email checking if you desire. While Antisocial is running, you set yourself free. It is quite amazing how relaxing this is. Try it and see for yourself. On the surface it is a time management issue. For me it is a quality of life issue. It is a priority management issue.
What do I do when I’m not online?
- Walk outside
- Cook something delicious
- Have focused time for better work productivity
- Make sure I've got something ready for this month's creativity club meeting
- Get the benefit of engaging in a handmade craft
- Exercise, do yoga, embody myself
- Talk with friends…face to face(real live social connection has important benefits social media does not give us.)
- Play with others face to face (are you play deprived?)
- Learn something new
- Read a book
- Notice something beautiful or practice one of the dishabituation / Interrupt Thyself exercises
Times have changed but our nervous systems have not.
We are simply not designed for the constant amount of stimuli available through the media today.
- The way we become disconnected from our bodies while on the internet is a tremendous loss.
- The constant exposure to the electromagnetic fields alone may be bad for us.
- We are increasingly encouraged to think that the gathering of lots of information is the same thing as Wisdom. It is not.
- Cyber-socialization is NOT a substitute for human relationship and the many benefits it creates for us physically and emotionally.
There are multiple studies linking a sharp rise in depression and anxiety to the amount of time spent online, particularly for our youth. There is even a term called Facebook Depression. Yes, many studies are being done to investigate the strong possibility that too much Facebook causes increased depression, anxiety and lonliness..
The solution is obvious.
Do you live your life increasingly through a machine? A gadget? Become a bit more Antisocial. Live in this beautiful three-dimensional world. Reclaim some of your time for a human life. Are there great benefits to the internet? Absolutely! But it can quickly get out of hand.