Is social media addictive?

Have you ever felt an undeniable urge to pull out your smartphone and scroll through your Facebook feed or type out a witty tweet to share with your followers?

You might be in the throes of a social media addiction.

Recent research by Harvard University has revealed the compulsion to share details about your personal life is a real addiction. In fact, MRI brain scans were used to find sharing a status update is associated with the same pleasure sensation that you get from eating food, receiving money and even having sex.

The reward areas in the brain were more engaged when people were talking about themselves and less when talking about others – this could perhaps be the real reason why social media sites have such a large following.

So, what can you do if you are thinking of breaking your habit to do a 28 day long social media fast? Here are a few suggestions to help you share your feelings and enjoy the validation of sharing your thoughts with others.

Start a coffee group

Rather than venting about your problems to a wide circle of acquaintances on Facebook, why not meet up with some friends at a cafe every weekend? This way you can talk about the week that was and maintain that sense of connectedness that all humans crave. Remember that giving up social media does not mean you need to become anti-social!

Phone a friend

These days it is too easy to type out a message to your friends and to stay in touch digitally. Consider utilising your phone for other purposes and ringing your bestie for a good old-fashioned chin wag.

Throw a dinner party

Why not stimulate those feel-good chemicals with some top notch tucker? Whether it be a pot luck meal or a five course feast, having some friends around for food will stimulate your pleasure areas in your brain. Good food and chat will have you feeling better than ever. Just make sure everyone switches off their phones during the meal.

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