- Use an app to track how much time you spend on social media each day. Then set a goal for how much you want to reduce it by.
- Turn off your phone at certain times of the day, such as when you’re driving, in a meeting, at the gym, having dinner, spending time with offline friends, or playing with your kids. Don’t take your phone with you to the bathroom.
- Don’t bring your phone or tablet to bed. Turn devices off and leave them in another room overnight to charge.
- Disable social media notifications. It’s hard to resist the constant buzzing, beeping, and dinging of your phone alerting you to new messages. Turning off notifications can help you regain control of your time and focus.
- Limit checks. If you compulsively check your phone every few minutes, wean yourself off by limiting your checks to once every 15 minutes. Then once every 30 minutes, then once an hour. There are apps that can automatically limit when you’re able to access your phone.
- Try removing social media apps from your phone so you can only check Facebook, Twitter and the like from your tablet or computer. If this sounds like too drastic a step, try removing one social media app at a time to see how much you really miss it.
We all need the face-to-face company of others to be happy and healthy. At its best, social media is a great tool for facilitating real-life connections. But if you’ve allowed virtual connections to replace real-life friendships in your life, there are plenty of ways to build meaningful connections without relying on social media.
- Set aside time each week to interact offline with friends and family. Try to make it a regular get-together where you always keep your phones off.
- If you’ve neglected face-to-face friendships, reach out to an old friend (or an online friend) and arrange to meet up. If you both lead busy lives, offer to run errands or exercise together.
- Join a club. Find a hobby, creative endeavor, or fitness activity you enjoy and join a group of like-minded individuals that meet on a regular basis.
- Don’t let social awkwardness stand in the way. Even if you’re shy, there are proven techniques to overcome insecurity and build friendships.
- If you don’t feel that you have anyone to spend time with, reach out to acquaintances. Lots of other people feel just as uncomfortable about making new friends as you do—so be the one to break the ice. Invite a coworker out for lunch or ask a neighbor or classmate to join you for coffee.
- Interact with strangers. Look up from your screen and connect with people you cross paths with on public transport, at the coffee shop, or in the grocery store. Simply smiling or saying hello will improve how you feel—and you never know where it may lead.
- Feeling and expressing gratitude about the important things in your life can be a welcome relief to the resentment, animosity, and discontent sometimes generated by social media.
- Take time for reflection. Try keeping a gratitude journal or using a gratitude app. Keep track of all the great memories and positives in your life—as well as those things and people you’d miss if they were suddenly absent from your life. If you’re more prone to venting or negative posts, you can even express your gratitude on social media—although you may benefit more from private reflection that isn’t subject to the scrutiny of others.
- Practice mindfulness. Experiencing FOMO and comparing yourself unfavorably to others keeps you dwelling on life’s disappointments and frustrations. Instead of being fully engaged in the present, you’re focused on the “what ifs” and the “if onlys” that prevent you from having a life that matches those you see on social media. By practicing mindfulness, you can learn to live more in the present moment, lessen the impact of FOMO, and improve your overall mental wellbeing.
- Volunteer. Just as human beings are hard-wired to seek social connection, we’re also hard-wired to give to others. Helping other people or animals not only enriches your community and benefits a cause that’s important to you, but it also makes you feel happier and more grateful.