The Day I Curbed My Impulsivity

I legitimately have a social media addiction. It began when I had my children and they were small. I was consistently up at 3am, 4am and whatever am nursing babies. It was exhausting and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I needed an outlet to vent my overwhelmed thoughts. I began blogging to share the thoughts I had with other parents. It was rewarding to commiserate with other parents about their challenges. I felt less alone and it was gratifying to feel that sense of community. Then I began to use Facebook and Twitter to share some of my inner most thoughts and feelings. To this day I use Facebook and Twitter differently than other people. I use them both as a vomitorium to share my excess thoughts.

Over the years I began to notice how frequently I checked social media and how much I posted on it. At first I rationalized it. Now, I am becoming increasingly concerned with how much time it is taking out of my day. I started thinking about why I post so much online and there are a variety of factors. One is that because I have young children I am often at the mercy of their schedules which means I am at school events, play dates, or stuck in the house. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for me to hang with friends or do my own thing.

So, I started sharing my thoughts online as a form of therapeutic release. I do have an actual therapist and friends that I talk to and hang out with, however I value my online friendships as well. They are real and fulfilling. Some of those digital connections have developed into real life friendships.

I thought more about the impetus for posting a lot on social media and the biggest factor was my impulsivity. I have ADHD which pushes me to act in an impulsive manner. Some of that behavior comes out when I spontaneously call a friend, say something without thinking and posting random shit on the internet in a high frequency manner.

I took a look at myself in the proverbial mirror, and asked: self, do you want to keep doing this? Does this truly make you happy? And the answer I came to was: I don’t know. I decided to conduct a sociological experiment. Every time I wanted to post something online, instead I wrote in the “notes” section of my phone:

“The time- 10:18am- I want to go on social media”

The results were not surprising, but I wasn’t pleased with them either.

Every few minutes I had the impulse to check my social media platforms. After I wrote that note to myself I distracted myself with another activity like walking in the woods, singing, making a lanyard bracelet or playing with my daughter. I don’t particularly like my impulsive nature, but today I am working on curbing my impulses.

Another way I am doing this is with text messages. If I have the urge to text someone, I stop and think three things:

1. Is this time sensitive?
2. What do I hope to accomplish here?
3. What am I feeing and why?

These three questions help me take a beat before sending a text.

This day has taught me to be more mindful in this digitally based age. Personally, I prefer hanging out with people in person or talking on the phone to texting/emailing them, but I am a minority in that it seems.

What about you? Do you find yourself compulsively checking your phone and social media platforms?