My Facebook addiction. Top 10 ways to cope
My Facebook addiction…
I must admit that I liked it. The first few years I was on it I only used it maybe once a week to start. But then, with time, and improvements to the quality, I started using it more and more. After six years of steadily increasing abuse though, I thought… I wonder what this stuff is doing to my brain? And how much of my life and time am I losing to it? Maybe I should quit. You know, start small at first, like reduce the amount, and the days on it, and then over time, maybe I’ll just quit altogether you know? Like never use it again…
So after some deliberation with myself, and hearing about a friend who recently stopped, I had made up my mind. No small steps for me baby- I was quitting cold turkey and this was final. The first day off was the hardest. I remember anxiously pacing back and forth, picking it up and putting it down. Arguing with myself that I could just be on it for an hour and stop. That wouldn’t cause too much harm. But no, I had made a vow to stop for three weeks and I was going to keep it no matter what! However, I did relapse on day three with some friends, but only for an hour- and I had a great excuse- I needed, no no, I mean I absolutely had to share- and there was no other option really. And that was all it took to suck me back in. I felt terrible. I was guilty of breaking my own vow and making it ok somehow in the process.
This is when I decided to make a plan. I would need to start filling my time with other things and when I got the urge to use, I would just have to do something that I could not do when I was using it. Something REAL. Something CONSCIOUS. Something…
So I sat, and I thought. I started to imagine all the things I could be doing with my time instead. What started to come was surprising and as the days passed on, it became easier and easier. I used to wake up and use it before doing anything else, so instead I changed my routine to a morning meditation when I first woke up as part of my plan. This was a great first step for me as it set the tone for the rest of the day. There were also other various times throughout the day that I would find myself wanting to use it, so each time I would pick it up, I would just look at it, remind myself there are better things to do, and start listing them in my mind and on paper. Below you can find a short list of eight simple things I did to help me cope:
1- Go out and play in nature. This may seem like common sense to some of you, but for me, it had been a rare occurrence in my ever increasing robot existence. Playing in the water, walking barefoot on the earth, climbing the trees – it was these things that reminded me of where grounded reality could be found and it was free on so many levels.
2- Meditate. This is the one thing that helped me to see all the other possibilities and also become more centered within myself. An absolute must do if your trying to cope with an addiction like I am, or a break up (which yea, I had that too), or possibly your in-laws (luckily I got skipped on this one).
3- Talk to strangers. Having a random conversation with someone on the street, at the beach, or in the tea shop helped a lot. Although at times I found that many other people also were inflicted with the same addiction, it did not discourage me, it really only encouraged and reminded me just how hard it could be to quit and that clearly I was not alone.
4- Be more present. This one took some patience, and some time. But after more and more practice of living in the present, I slowly began to be able to hold eye contact for longer periods of time, and thought about using less and less. In fact, it seemed to fade from me quicker, even though so many other people were “liking” it just as much, if not more, than I did.
5- Exercise. Moving my body whether it be doing yoga, running, simple stretching or playing a sport always made me feel better. Not to mention that the “feel good” endorphins produced from a good healthy heart rate increase were also very helpful. And the icing on that cake was that my body was beginning to look pretty fabulous I must say which doesn’t get any complaints from me.
6- Horizon gazing. I began to notice that my eye muscles had become weaker with the use over time, and so I started doing some “eye yoga” to help regenerate them. Eye yoga is basically focusing on using your eye muscles, and one way you can do this is by looking at an object that is close to you, one a bit further away, and then gazing into the horizon far far away. There are many other exercises within eye yoga, but this was the one I enjoyed the most so I shared it here.
7- Daydreaming. Now this is my absolute favorite way to cope with just about anything- addiction or otherwise. I like to get in my hammock, and put on my headphones listening to my chill out mix and just sway with the wind and imagine possibilities for my present and future. I found that along with the meditation, I was no longer as interested in “liking” somethings over others, as I had started “liking” myself and the people around me more than using.
8- Writing. I have always enjoyed writing and I mean really writing – not short text messages with all the new lingo either. I started writing poetry, short stories, some of my daydreams and ideas, and the more I did it, the more I enjoyed it. Kind of like my addiction, but creative writing definitely didn’t leave me feeling like an empty zombie with no ambition or drive.
9- Watch TedX Videos. When I feel it’s time to learn from people I would not likely meet say in the dusty roads of Douz, Tunisia or while meandering through some countryside or the Sahara alone, I turn to the Tedx platform. I absolutely love learning from this great collection of innovators, visionaries and idealists who have ideas worth spreading. Always leaving me feeling inspired, contemplative and creative, Tedx talks are just simply an amazing way to learn and grow.
10- Create a vision board. I love making vision boards and have made over 20 of them in the last few years. I created one to layout my ideas for this website, design my future self, and companies that I am now creating. There are many ways to make vision boards either using magazine cut outs or an online vision board creator such as the one on Oprah’s website called the Odream board. Whatever method you decide to use, creating vision boards helps you to consciously identify and concentrate on what you really want to create in your life.
My Facebook Addiction…
This experiment with quitting my FACEBOOK ADDICTION for three weeks has proved to be quite a revealing process as to how I sometimes live my life, and what I miss out on with this virtual addiction. I have to admit that taking the hiatus from FACEBOOK has been one of the best things I have done for my life next to deciding to backpack around the world. I saw how it all had started for me, what was pulling me back in, why I felt I needed it so much, and what I was missing out on when I used it without discression or even a conscious thought beforehand. It made me realize so many things about living that I may just actually have to quit my Facebook Addiction altogether and spend more time doing the things I listed above. It was these things that gave me the opposite and a more pleasant feeling overall anyway.
If while reading this you also feel that you may have a FACEBOOK ADDICTION, or are unaware if you do, I advise you to take a hiatus yourself and see what develops for you. A break might just be the only thing you need to see where you might be with what I have dubbed “the greatest distraction to the self ever created”.
I would love to hear your thoughts on FACEBOOK ADDICTION and encourage you to use the blue comment button below to share! But then, please, go outside and play with some strangers – maybe lead an impromptu yoga lesson in the street as well. Just remember to bring a bag to collect the gateway to the drug (AKA: iphones, androids, tablets and otherwise) so that your struggling friends are not tempted to use during this time as well. As for me, another hiatus from Facebook is on it’s way . . ironically right after I share this with you there first.