Coach Calling: How to unhook yourself from being hooked to social media? 

Adolescents, adults, and others facing a personal crisis while scrolling through social media, do you think you know how to NOT get caught up in the social media vortex? Read the article to know more
Source: EdexLive
Source: EdexLive

Hello to my readers!

The conversation for today has been brewing in the background for quite some time now. Although the issue that I am about to address today has been affecting the youth, and even the adults, due to the growing presence of social media in everyone's lives, in no way do I feel repentant or embarrassed to say that I have also had the same feeling that most of you do. I used to feel depressed when I used social media. 

But you must not worry, and not carry a similar weight on your shoulders as I am here to help out and at the same time, bring about awareness to a few aspects that shall enable you to become more conscious so that you can handle most of these issues like a boss and become your best self!

What is the All is Well syndrome?
One of the biggest triggers that makes people suffer in silence is how social media portrays the Illusion of Perfection. Not many of us understand that, with time, social media has transformed into a platform for sharing, portraying, and broadcasting our fantasies and wants, and hence, most of us only share curated content.

This curated version of reality, where everyone seems to lead perfect lives leads to constant comparison with others. This constant comparison leads to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, which makes our already stressful lives even more so. With such negative emotions, it might eventually lead to a situation where it is not going to be 'All is Well' but 'All in the Well'.

If our focus is fixated on how beautiful and perfect the lives of other people are, and not appreciating our own, not being grateful for our personal achievements, ask yourself, are you giving yourself the chance to be happy?

So the next time you see the Perfect Valentine or the Perfect Vacation and any such post that makes you feel or question why your life is not similar, take a step back and get real! In many cases, we tend to overlook the work and the hustle that goes beyond the lives of these social media personalities, or the means via which they have achieved it. Channelling our emotions towards something positive is quite a necessity.

Do you realise click-baiting is eventually baiting you?
Social media is splattered with content for the sake of attracting people to get views on articles, videos, reels, and so on, like '10 things you should have achieved before 20' or '5 things to do before your 30s' but what would happen if you do not tick all these boxes they propose? Would people look down upon you or you would become a laughing stock in a matter of thirty seconds? Neither of this is going to happen, so why think about it?

What we need to understand is the fact that this content is neither a benchmark nor is it something that is backed by any logical explanation. We all have our own pace at which we do things and we all have our own timelines during which things will happen only if you believe fully in them.

Why have unrealistic goals and expectations?
"How I made a six-figure income sitting at home", "How I lost my belly fat in 10 days" and so on, this kind of content promises to achieve a target that is less motivating and succeeds in raising unrealistic expectations as they assure one of amazing results but with very low or zero efforts. We cannot forgo the fact that with this content, they are the ones benefiting, as they fail to show or prove the validity of their content. 

To achieve anything, hard work, patience, perseverance, and time are a given. Sometimes try and look at your life as a third person. 

I would ask myself "Adarsh, the XYZ goal that you have set, do you think that it makes sense or would bear fruits"? Never forget to question yourself and if it is right or wrong, be realistic. Other experts offer their genuine advice, but you would know about yourself better. Hence, listen to others but listen to yourself as well.

Do I know myself?
One very important aspect that I have always been concerned about as a Coach and psychotherapist is the slow and steady conditioning of individuals that gradually makes them forget their own identity as a result of the Approval Seeking Behaviour that they have developed because of social media. This is quite alarming as we seldom realise how this behaviour has crept into our psyche and gained dominance. 

The quest for likes, views, comments, followers, subscribers, and other forms of validation on social media can turn into a relentless pursuit of approval, where self-worth is measured by online feedback.

We all seem to have lost our own identity and in a quest to become popular, or even fit in because of peer pressure and other factors, we seem to have lost ourselves. All I want you to ask yourself is...Is it worth it, to lead a pretentious life and be untrue to ourselves or on the contrary, give so much importance to what others seek, think, and approve of? Just be your OG Self! (Original Self). The ones who love the OG you, are the ones that matter anyway!

Do you know about the echo chamber effect?
Social media algorithms often show us content that aligns with what we like seeing, we feed the algorithm with posts we mostly interact with and this creates echo chambers that reinforce a pattern. This reinforcement sometimes distorts our reality and truly limits our exposure to diverse perspectives.

Is it too complicated for you?

Let me simplify it, social media platforms are designed to glue us to the screen as their main source of revenue is advertisements. The more we consume content, the more revenue they earn, and hence, what we like, our interests, and our behaviours are carefully tracked and we are only shown content guaranteed to keep us hooked.

So, all you need to do is to analyse what you are watching, whether it is adding value to your life, and be aware of its ingenuity. Once you decide to take a conscious step, the first thing you need to do is stop watching the content that makes you feel low and two, stop endless scrolling of reels by setting time limits.

Remember, if you watch content that has negative results, you will only be bombarded with it and if you choose to consume content that adds value, you will still be pulled into this addiction as you'll be shown content that keeps you on your toes and hence, you need to regulate and balance out your practices.

Although there is still a lot to be discussed, as I sign off, here are some one-liner, self-explanatory tips that would work wonders if you could accomplish them one by one.

1. Do a planned digital detox like clockwork. Irrespective of what reasons your mind gives you, remember to listen to the Coach and simply disconnect once a week, set a suitable time for yourself, say a few hours or a day, and you will realise how much more productive those days have been.

2. Limit social comparison and start becoming a support system for those who are even deeper into it and are comparing themselves to social media celebrities. Be their superfriend! You will be quite satisfied at the end of the process, trust me!

3. Cultivate real-life connections. It is quite important to develop connections outside your virtual world. Get to know each other and open yourself to others, so that they can open up too. Having these conversations with someone you think has a perfect life, also gives you an added perspective. So never hesitate!

4. Practice self-compassion. We're usually hard on ourselves and want to be perfect by taking social media as a yardstick. All I ask you to do is to treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend facing similar struggles and acknowledge that it's perfectly fine to be imperfect.

5. Keep it real. Be a trailblazer in your own right by showcasing authenticity and vulnerability. The best kind of followers or friends to have are those who know your real self, your struggles, your vulnerabilities, and your real abilities. By leading with honesty and integrity, you can inspire others to do the same and create a more positive social media environment.

As I sign off, I would like to do so with some food for thought. Is social media really making us socially active? Or is it making us sit in a room, dejected, depressed, and lonely whilst we type a LOL on a post or send out a message on how perfect our day has been to a zillion people?

Peace Out!
Adarsh Benakappa Basavaraj,
Your beloved Coach.

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