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Let’s be honest — the majority of us live in a world governed by social media.

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This realization is certainly nothing new to me, but it was further reinforced this past weekend while I was working as a brand ambassador in the middle of nowhere, Ontario, Canada — in a city where the mean age of its residents could not be lower than 55.

As part of my work, I was required to gather leads for the brand I was representing, and while they primarily sought email addresses, they were also happy to garner social media likes and follows.

Despite the majority of those I encountered being well into their years of claiming the senior’s discount at the local Denny’s, I was astonished by how many of them actively engaged with several social media platforms. They not only knew what each of them were, but were able to quickly whip out their phones, open the app, and commit to the ‘follow’ as quickly as I myself could have.

While I admit that I was undoubtedly guilty of stereotyping in my assumption that the older crowd would barely dabble with social media, much less use it regularly, I’m pretty sure most of you would have predicted the same.

The bottom line is, social media’s reign grows stronger every day, and the fact that you are here only confirms that fact.

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But how do we know when we’ve taken it too far? Here are 10 clearcut signs that your addiction to social media has evolved into a beast that controls your life:

1. You check your phone before even getting out of bed

Your feet haven’t even touched the ground yet, but your freshly rested mind is already being exposed to newsfeeds and notifications. Does that sound very healthy to you?

2. You bring your phone with you to the bathroom

I get it: For most of us who work nine-to-five, our bathroom break is one of the few times we can check in on everything we’ve missed. But when you regularly find yourself sitting on the bowl well after you’ve finished doing what you came to do, it’s a pretty clear sign that social media has you on a leash. Bathrooms are great and all, but without your phone, would you ever choose to spend more time than you need to in the room in which everyone else “unloads”?

3. You can’t remember the last time you went anywhere, by choice, without your phone

Try to think of it now. If nothing comes to mind in 10 seconds or less, you have a problem, and your body needs a break from that continued exposure.

4. You regularly lose yourself in feeds, completely forgetting about the message or notification you came on to check

You may have opened Facebook for the fourteenth time today to get the address from your friend Katie for tonight’s party, but you won’t realize that until you close the app 20 minutes and 15 random videos later.

5. You’ve read and watched far too many things you have no interest in and which have no bearing on your life 

It’s great to be informed, but is it really important that you now know how they make Lego?

6. You re-read and double check your Facebook posts, Tweets, and Instagram captions better than you ever did any school essay

I know the word count is substantially shorter, but is your 140 character opinion on last night’s episode of The Bachelor really worth so much care and attention? Put that same focus on the things that matter and you’ll likely get to a point where you won’t even want to watch the show anymore.

7. You aren’t a business, yet you pre-plan and schedule your posts for maximum engagement

Analytics are awesome, but if getting a certain number of likes on your next post is so important to you that you study how to maximize its chances of hitting your target, I really think some self-reflection is needed.

8. You get down when something you post doesn’t receive the response you hoped for

It’s one thing to get a bit down when you post a heartfelt piece on a pressing issue in hopes of generating discussion or awareness and it flops. But it’s another when your mood dips simply because your new profile pic only garnered 41 likes, while your previous one topped 100.

9. Your mood drastically improves when something you post gets a better response than you could have ever imagined

It’s natural to enjoy receiving more positive attention on something than you expected, but it’s a clear sign that social media affects your mood too much when a popular post gets you amped up. Find ways to avoid letting your happiness be so conditional on external results.

10. You start to question yourself and re-think existing posts that perform poorly to make sure you didn’t come across the wrong way.

You hit the ‘post’ button and you feel great, but 30 minutes later, when it’s only gathered one like from your Aunt Shirley, you find yourself re-reading it to identify what could have possibly caused such a seeming catastrophe.

Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com.


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