The Zen of Social Media: The Balance Between the Warm and Fuzzies & Social Media Addiction

Hello, my name is Blakely and I’m a social media-aholic. And you might be, too.

Have you ever felt that phantom smartphone vibration? Sleep with your phone next to the bed — just in case? Get nervous when your 140-character haiku brilliance doesn’t get retweeted? Or comment on a Facebook post while in the shower? You just might be hooked. But you, too, can embrace the Zen of Social Media.

Over the past two years, several studies have been published describing the psychological and physical effects of social media and Internet usage. And the results are compelling — and slightly frightening.

Social media interactions have been shown to increase the level of the pleasure hormone Oxytocin in users, giving social media-philes that warm and fuzzy love feeling — even spiking the same emotional euphoria as a groom at a wedding.

A British biological journal even linked the amount of gray matter in the brain to the test subject’s number of Facebook friends . And when you add a live video element to the social connection using a video meeting tool like iMeet, the power of the digital interaction is very similar to a face-to-face meeting. Unfortunately, the warm and fuzzies can easily turn into the dark and scary when usage becomes obsessive.

Social media and Internet addiction is no laughing matter, often claiming victims in ways similar to alcohol or drug addiction. After a multitude of Internet and gaming-related deaths, the South Korean government even named Internet addiction one of the most dangerous foes facing their country. And the potential for this new addiction is a moral, social and psychological warning that is rapidly rising across the entire world, throughout schools, homes and community centers. As in the rest of life, striking a balance is vital toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle — both in and out of the digital world.

Embrace the zen of Social Media. Schedule a digital timeout and walk the dog. When you hear a distant buzz whilst perusing Pinterest, look up and pay attention to your spouse (Guilty! I admit it!). And if you actually have the imprint of an Apple on your face? Step away from the iPhone.

Are you addicted to Social Media? You are not alone. For more information and to seek help, comment below and Shift’s stream of fellow social media-aholics can lend a helping hand.


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About Blakely T.

Blakely is a work-life juggler with three little monsters, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book-a-holic, Atlanta transplant and PR/social/content strategist (and presentations nerd) for PGi.

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