Social media addiction is real.

It’s no surprise that some people can’t get enough of social media. From Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Snapchat, there is always some option to immerse yourself in an online world. In fact, 18 percent of social media users can’t go a few hours without checking Facebook. 

“Social media addictions are real and can cause serious short and long term adverse effects on one’s physical and emotional health,” said Gregory L. Taylor, II, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the medical director of the Keck Medicine – Downtown Los Angeles clinic. “People should seek prompt help from their primary care physician or other healthcare professionals before it negatively interferes with their social and professional wellbeing.”

To avoid falling in the trap of constant scrolling through your phone to see what everyone else is up to, follow this game plan for success with your social wellness:

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1. Schedule times to check your social media.

Do you read your newsfeed the first thing in the morning? Or right before bed? Schedule at least five times for 10-minute intervals to go over your social media profiles and read updates, get your news and engage in conversations.

2. Focus on being present in the moment.

A lot of people lose focus by letting their phones distract them from the present moment. They do this at dinner, at company gatherings, even when out with their friends. To avoid falling into that trap, try putting your phone away in a bag, purse or coat pocket and immerse yourself in the situation in which you are you physically. Try thinking about it this way: If you are going to bother leaving the house to be somewhere, then really be there.

3. Talk with your colleagues.

One of the most important parts of wellness is to interact with those around you. Your social media feeds will always be there, but showing the people around you attention and appreciation helps with not only their overall wellness, but yours as well.

If you are still having difficulty with social media addiction, schedule an appointment with a primary care physician to discuss a plan to overcome it.

By Leonard Kim

If you are in the Los Angeles area and are looking for exceptional care from some of the top physicians in the world, be sure to schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visiting http://www.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/