Last week we explored the idea of the social media content highway being similar to your internal thought stream.
This week, in part 3 of our Wellness is a Journey series, we are looking at the formation of habits associated with social media use.
We perform an action and experience a reward, (such as a dopamine high, a sense of satisfaction, maybe relief). This outcome of a reward reinforces our behaviour and we repeat until the action becomes an automatic habit.
Apply this to your social media use. When the notification light flashes on your phone or sounds on your laptop, notice the physical impulse.
It may be subtle, such as a twitching of your hand or your head moving slightly.
Today’s inquiry is: What habits have become ingrained connected to your use of social media?
Answering this question takes some introspection. Consider focusing on this over a couple of days. Notice your impulses associated with social media use.
- How do you physically react to a notification?
- Do you pause to consider what else you’re doing at the time?
- How does the impulse show up for you, to post, comment or scroll?
The follow up inquiry is: If you have ingrained habits connected to social media, do you want to change them?
Consider the two key steps to form a habit: Taking an action and experiencing a reward as an outcome. Reinforcing this into a habit requires a trigger.
For example, the flashing notification light on your phone may be a trigger for you to automatically pick up your phone. If you want to change this impulse, you can do away with the trigger (turn off notifications at set times) or change the action you take.
This could look like: Your phone light flashes and your new action is to pause. Simply pause, be still and notice what you are doing. Then take the action that serves you best; such as silencing your phone while you finish what you’re doing; checking your phone because you’re expecting an important message or call; or putting on a timer for 5 minutes to catch up on messages and then go on with the next part of your day.
How are you transforming your social media habits? Share with us in the comments below.