Time to log off

Sharon Ní Chonchúir learns about cut­ting back on so­cial me­dia

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - This Week -

WITH the new year loom­ing large on the hori­zon, many of us are set­ting new year’s res­o­lu­tions. One of yours might be cut­ting back on so­cial me­dia, and we’ve got tips to help.

Firstly, know that you’re not alone. Ac­cord­ing to the an­nual Mo­bile Con­sumer Sur­vey car­ried out by Deloitte, the av­er­age Ir­ish phone user picks up their phone 55 times a day, and 56% of those in­ter­viewed for the sur­vey be­lieved they used their phones ex­ces­sively.

There are lots of rea­sons why this might be the case.

While smart­phones are a great way of stay­ing con­nected with friends and fam­ily, ex­perts say that so­cial me­dia apps can also trig­ger feel­ings of anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, and low self-worth.

So, how do you go about cut­ting back? Juliet Hodges, se­nior be­hav­iour change ex­pert at Bupa, has some ad­vice.

1. Set an achiev­able goal

Delet­ing your In­sta­gram ac­count might seem too daunt­ing, so start with a more re­al­is­tic aim.

“If your goal is achiev­able and if you have a clear dead­line in mind, you’re more likely to achieve — or even ex­ceed — your ex­pec­ta­tions,” says Ms Hodges.

She thinks that this is one of the best times to give up so­cial me­dia be­cause you can com­mit to log­ging off for a short pe­riod of time and you’ll have lots of fes­tiv­i­ties to dis­tract you from your news­feed.

2. Go pub­lic

The best way of mak­ing sure you stick to a res­o­lu­tion is to tell peo­ple about it.

“Tell the peo­ple around you that you’re log­ging off or share it on your so­cial me­dia ac­counts,” says Juliet Hodges.

“We like to be seen to act con­sis­tently, par­tic­u­larly in front of oth­ers, so one way of mak­ing sure you don’t fall off the wagon is telling peo­ple around you what you’re plan­ning to do.”

3. Avoid temp­ta­tion

“Stud­ies show that peo­ple with the best willpower aren’t stronger in the face of temp­ta­tion; they just avoid putting them­selves in that po­si­tion,” says Hodges.

Con­sider delet­ing the so­cial me­dia apps from your phone. Out of sight is al­most the same as out of mind.

4. Know your trig­gers

Re­search shows that it’s much eas­ier to form new habits when we link them to ac­tiv­i­ties that al­ready oc­cur in our daily lives.

“Why not make your morn­ing cof­fee or af­ter­noon walk de­vice-free,” sug­gests Hodges.

“Take a book with you in­stead.”

5. Don’t beat your­self up

Habits are dif­fi­cult to break, and most of us fall off the wagon at some stage. What’s im­por­tant, ac­cord­ing to Hodges, is how you re­act in those mo­ments.

“Those who treat them­selves with kind­ness when they slip up are much more likely to suc­ceed in the long term than those who beat them­selves up for ev­ery mis­take,” she says.

“It’s equally im­por­tant to cel­e­brate your suc­cesses. Set your­self short-term tar­gets — even daily goals — and give your­self a pat on the back for each achieve­ment.”

SNAP HAPPY: Christ­mas can be a great time to break the habit of com­pul­sive on­line in­ter­ac­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.