Always consult a doctor before undergoing treatment of any kind. The author of this article is not a doctor so if you decide to undertake the treatment described in this article, do so at your own risk.
Stop Smartphone and Social Media Addiction By Creating Boundaries
After you take control back over your own brain to rid yourself of social media and smartphone addiction, you’ll still need to communicate with your family and friends. Until you start taking amino acid supplements and plant medicines, it may seem impossible to come up with ways to communicate outside of social media. But this is just an illusion caused by a lack of adequate dopamine in your brain.
You CAN put boundaries on social media and smartphone use to reclaim your life. Below we offer some basic rules to help you get started creating healthy boundaries for you and your family.
Setting Healthy Boundaries: Basic Rules
Many people feel like they can’t stop using their smartphone or social media apps because they need the social “tokens” that they get from these technologies. But you’re smarter than your smartphone and you’re smarter than the social media apps!
Depending on your age, you may remember a time when a cellular phone was a cellular phone and the Internet was a separate thing entirely, accessible only by computer. But when mobile phone functionality was combined with Internet functionality, all kinds of problems with smartphone addiction developed. Social media addiction became a serious issue at this time too because all of a sudden, people could plug into social media from anywhere in the world at any time. The natural boundaries on when it was acceptable to use a phone became blurry because the phone is also like a tiny computer. Add social media apps into the mix of smartphone portability and the ability to quietly communicate with people through text or messaging discreetly at any time of the day or night and the boundaries became even more blurry.
People began using their smartphone to avoid socially awkward situations. They began using their smartphone to entertain themselves at times when they would otherwise be quietly thinking or accessing their own inner resources. And they began looking down at the smartphone instead of looking up at times when they might cross paths with someone like a soul mate or a potential new friend. Eye contact became more limited. Serendipity and chance meetings as a result started to become less probable.
And the more people looked through that warped social media lens, the more socially phobic they became.
If you’re ready to tune back into things like nature, other people who have a life outside of social media and their smartphone, your family, your friends, and loved ones, you can get started right away by following the simple rules below:
Rule #1: Start the amino acid and nutrient supplements before you decide how to put boundaries on your social media and smartphone use.
Rule #2: After you’ve taken amino acid supplements and plant medicines for 2 to 3 days, make a plan for how you’ll communicate with the people who are most important to you in your life. Consider getting a small flip phone or a land line that you can use as your main communication medium. Keep the flip phone in a pocket, and turn your smartphone off and put it in a purse or a bag for use only in emergencies when you need the Internet.
Rule #3: Don’t worry about whether or not to shut down your social media accounts completely at this time. If you choose to keep your accounts, you can simply stop using them for anything other than just a way to find email addresses and phone numbers of “friends”. For example, I still use Messenger to send messages to people who are completely immersed in Facebook, but I don’t ever visit Facebook. And I only check my Messenger inbox once every week or two. And I ask the people I communicate with through this medium to switch over to email with me as soon as possible if I’m exchanging messages with them.
Rule #4: Make social media as unappealing for yourself as possible by doing the following:
- Disable all of your social media notifications
- Turn off all sounds coming from your smartphone.
- Put your smartphone in a place out of sight for most of the day and night.
- Change your smartphone screen display to black and white (to make it harder for your phone to get and maintain your attention).
- Get rid of all the apps that cause addictive behaviors on your smartphone. Require yourself to check in on these apps only on the computer, or better yet, not at all!
- Consider getting a flip phone as your actual point of contact with loved ones so you can turn off your smartphone whenever you aren’t using it (which will be most of the time.)
Rule #5: Plan ahead for yourself at least 24 hours in advance. Know how you’re going to use your free time. Create goals that are achievable and enjoyable so that when you have free-time, you aren’t tempted to misuse it.
When You’re Ready: How to Create Social Media and Smartphone Boundaries:
- Make a list of the people who are most important to you in your life, like your family members and your best friends. These are people you actually talk to directly either in text, via video or phone calls, or face-to-face.
- Tell your friends and loved ones (by sending them a text message or by contacting them directly by phone) that you’re leaving social media, but that you want to stay in touch with them in a way that will work for both of you. Below are ways to stay in touch:
- Telephone Communication
- Face-to-Face Communication
- Understand that many of these people are also addicted to social media. Don’t let this influence YOU. Let THEM be influenced by YOUR decision to leave social media.
- Don’t worry about communicating with the other hundreds or thousands of people in your friend list on social media. These people won’t notice if you leave the platform and there’s no need to announce to them that you’re leaving. To announce that you’re leaving will simply open up your intention to leave social media for discussion and judgment by others! Some people post their intention to leave social media in the hopes that people will beg them to stay. Remember though, the feedback you receive for a post like this is going to be manipulated by The Social Media Algorithm. For more information about the Social Media Algorithm, watch the documentary The Social Dilemma.
- You have to decide for yourself whether or not to leave the platform and this is not open for discussion through social media.
Create a special docking station for your smartphone where it will be out of sight and out of mind when you’re at home or at work. If you want for loved ones and friends to be able to contact you, make a docking station for your flip phone in the center of the home so that people can call you if they need to get ahold of you. Then you can turn off your smartphone without any reservations.
Often, people silence their smartphone because the Internet capabilities of the smartphone make it so that it’s always making noises. As a result, people silence it and the smartphone doesn’t actually work as a phone anymore. Further, the phone function often doesn’t work properly–the ringer may not go off or you may miss calls because they don’t show up right away. But if you have a flip phone or a land line that you reliably answer, your loved ones and friends will use it to get in touch with you.
Other Important Links:
Haynes, T. (2018). Dopamine, Smartphones, & You: A Battle for Your Time. Retrieved December 12, 2020 from http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/dopamine-smartphones-battle-time/#:~:text=Most%20of%20your%20dopamine%20is,different%20areas%20across%20the%20brain.&text=Every%20notification%2C%20whether%20it’s%20a,social%20stimulus%20and%20dopamine%20influx.
AddictionCenter.com (n.d.). Social Media Addiction. Retrieved December 12, 2020 from https://www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/social-media-addiction/