Here’s a question. How much time do you spend on social media each day? And another. How much do you set out to spend? For many, there is a big gulf between answers one and two. Of course there is, because it’s so easy for an intended 10 minutes to turn into an hour and then two, three or more. And now for the third question. How does it make you feel when you finally put the phone down and drag yourself back into the physical world?

For some, that return to reality is accompanied by feelings of nausea or lack of motivation for their own lives, others emerge angry at themselves or paralysed by comparisonitis. And yes, comparisonitis is a thing. A big thing no less. Because while people used to compare themselves to those in their social circle, we now hold ourselves up against those who appear in our social media feeds.

And we do it, knowing (even just dimly) that social media accounts rarely offer true depictions of other people’s lives. For the most part they’re carefully curated snapshots. Yet we are willing to expand on what we see, to make it much more than it is. We’re willing to let perfect strangers rampage through our minds. We hold the door wide open so they can trample on our sense of self before finally leaving us alone feeling crap. In other words, we give perfect strangers the power to make us feel a certain way.

That doesn’t make sense.

And it doesn’t have to be that way. Extreme social media use is ultimately just a habit. An unhelpful and sometimes hard habit to break. And understanding the motivation behind the drive to keep scrolling is a very good place to start.

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