How to break social media addiction in 5 steps

Our brain is constantly filled by information. Indeed, since the democratization of the television during the 20th century, the amount of content we get inside our head keeps growing.
How to break social media addiction in 5 steps


Our brain is constantly filled by information. Indeed, since the democratization of the television during the 20th century, the amount of content we get inside our head keeps growing.

Smartphones and social media sites such as GB Whatsapp are not helping. From something that was positive -keeping ahead with the news is important- we are now facing issues. We lost our ability to spend one day without checking social media. From the active content absorption that we use to have through reading, we jumped to a passive information absorption with the television and the social media.

To break social media addiction and lower our massive information income, we could simply stop it. However, this solution does not work because then you miss major information. It is important to have an idea about what’s going on in the world to make his own mind.

What I recommend for changing the situation is a diet. Even if 90% of diets fail, it is not the same here. Diets fail because the results come after a long time. Our brains are wired for instant gratification, not for long-term results. This is the reason why diets fail. However, here the results will show up so quickly that you will probably never stop this diet once you started it. With that method, you will get back the control on the information you want to get inside your head.

I do my social media diet since 2017 and it has changed my life. During my travels around the world -read detailed reports of my travels in Scotland, Spain and France to prepare your trips as well as possible on my website- Thanks to this method, I can keep up with the news without feeling stressed.

The five steps method to stop being your phone’s slave

How does social media addiction manifest itself?

According to psychologists, addiction to social networks and computer games is based on unresolved conflicts, the inability to adequately express aggression, a sense of insecurity, dissatisfaction with one's life, personal and professional unfulfillment.

Any addiction arises from an exorbitant sense of satisfaction, reward, which our brain tends to experience more and more. In the social network, such “rewards” are presented, as they say, in an assortment, from “likes” to notifications of content updates. But there is a solution from solutions to social media addiction!

Step 1 – Turn off all your notifications

Social media addiction works the same way as nicotine’s addiction. Whenever you see someone smoking, you want to smoke too. It creates a habit. It is the same for notifications. When receiving one, your brain secretes dopamine, which creates a habit. You become addicted to notifications. The best way to realize this is to see people increasing their notification’s volume as loud as possible, putting the flashlight on, and so on. What those persons are doing is making the dopamine’s secretion bigger -or maybe they cannot feel the smaller dopamine secretions anymore, just like smokers need to smoke more through the years to feel the effects-. So, the first step is easy to put in practice, simply go to Settings, Notifications, and Disallow Push-up Notifications from all social media apps.

Comparison between cigarettes and social media sites

Step 2 – Clear your social media feeds

Your social media feeds are probably full of content you do not desire. This is due to the fact you follow pages through the years and forget about some of them. It can also come from the fact that those pages do not publish the same content as before. Sometimes, Facebook pages even switch names and totally change their content. That’s why I advise you to unsubscribe to all unwanted pages which do not bring value to your feed.

Some friends can also post too much, you should remove them or mute their content if you don’t want to feel rude. However, you should keep the friends which you get value from. Repeat this step for all your social media apps. If you are afraid to lose information during the process, you can still use cloud services, check out here how to create a Google Cloud account.

Step 3 – Create good feeds

Once you have decluttered your social media, it should remain:

  • 1 page per hobby. More than one will give you some pieces of information twice, which is something you do not want.
  • 1 general information page: as we said in the introduction, we do not want to be left without knowing what’s going on in the world. Follow one page of general information but be careful to choose one which does not post 10 times a day.
  • remaining friends who share information you value

To know if you created a good feed, I will give you a test. Tomorrow, you should be able to check your feed in less than 5 minutes. If you spend more than 5 minutes and still find new info, you should keep decluttering. After 5 minutes of browsing, you should only find content you have already seen.

Step 4 – Put a time limit

Now that you can watch your feed in 5 minutes, the goal is that you do not open your social media apps multiple times a day by reflex. Simply go to Settings, Screen Time and put a time limit on. Almost every smartphone has this option now. If not, there are ton of apps to help you.

Step 5 – Make this method durable

After one week, you should already see the benefits. On the other hand, you may fall back into your old habits after some time. That’s why you should make sure to track your screen time and be sure that you do not start following more pages than you need. I advise you to check your subscriptions once a month, to make sure you only have the necessary. Other features may cause you troubles to relax about social media. For instance, if you are constantly checking your Facebook page reviews to see if a new one arrived, it may create anxiety. I recommend that you turn off those reviews if they stress you out. Check the following link to know turn on FaceBook page reviews or to turn them off also.

If you want complementary tips to break social media addiction, I recommend that you check Thomas Frank’s video about it.

Finally, you must make sure that your social media usage is intentional. Indeed, smartphones are made to be distracting. If you are only using Instagram to enjoy the face filters (check out here how to create your own Instagram face filter), you should not use it for other reasons. Make sure that you keep control about your acts on every social media and be clear about the value it brings you.

Enjoy the results

If you followed this method right, you will feel relieved from your phone. I recommend that you start doing outside activities without it: runs, walks, and so on. Stop putting it in your pocket. This method applies to everyone who has a smartphone. It applies to any age and any character. It’s universal. You should give it a try.

Guillaume Borde, Roots Travler
Guillaume Borde, Roots Travler

Guillaume Borde is a French 19-year-old student who launched his website to inspire people to travel and share his values. Interested in minimalism, he also writes books during his spare time.

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