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We asked Lisa Kelly, a Toronto-based psychotherapist, for some deeper insight into why it might be a good idea to take a break from this social networking giant.
1. You're becoming obsessed with Facebook
It's not uncommon to check your Facebook account several times a day, but at what point does that behaviour become obsessive?
"People can get hooked on anything -- even Facebook," says Kelly. "If someone's Facebook usage is causing problems for them, such as mood swings, missing work or school, lack of sleep or time spent with real-world friends, then it might be necessary to completely unplug."
This obsessive behaviour is very much like an addiction, explains Kelly, which is often rooted in deep loneliness.
2. You're using Facebook to avoid other things
Facebook is one of the greatest procrastination tools known to man and is used to avoid everything from college essays to housework. Facebook can also serve as a way to avoid facing difficult feelings you might not be sure how to handle. The longer you avoid something, however, the harder it gets to deal with. Removing your source of avoidance (in this case Facebook) can be a big help.
"Unplugging means setting up a new lifestyle that fills the inner void in a healthy way, with real-life activities and relationships," says Kelly. "Therapy can help the user address the issues that are driving their Facebook addiction, and help them deal with the feelings that will surface when Facebook is no longer being used to self-medicate."
Page 1 of 2 -- Discover three more reasons why you should take a break from Facebook on page 2.
3. It's making you anxious
We put so much of ourselves out on Facebook, which can cause many different anxieties. Some situations that set users on edge include being cyber-stalked, getting unwanted attention, being tagged in questionable photos and cyber-bullying, says Kelly.
If you do find Facebook is causing unwanted stress, it's a good idea to scale back your usage and think about what exactly is causing your anxiety, she advises.
"The real trick is to be able to take time out when offline to deal with what is happening online," says Kelly.
4. It enhances jealousy
Many times what we post on Facebook -- and what others post -- are enhanced versions of our lives.
"In many ways Facebook is a false world that we create. It consists of the image of me I want you to see, plus what I imagine to be true about you based on your wall," explains Kelly.
"In this world, many of us are understandably prone to jealousy. If we tend to compare ourselves to others, our self-esteem will suffer wherever we are -- on the streetcar, at work, at home watching TV and particularly on Facebook where we can easily compare numbers of friends, birthday wishes or photos of ourselves travelling, looking good or having fun," she says.
Sit back and think about how you can bring good things into your own life rather than pining over what you perceive others have.
5. You will feel lonely
With all the interacting that is done online, you may still choose to opt out of having any contact with people in real life. We now send text messages instead of making phone calls or chat on Facebook instead of meeting for a coffee date, which can make connecting in the real world more difficult over time.
"This is what I see in my practice: Loneliness that leads to depression and anxiety," says Kelly. "People have lost the ability to be honest with each other about their feelings, insecurities or needs. They often do not know how to authentically connect with themselves and with others," she explains.
Taking a break from Facebook will give you the time needed to reconnect with friends and family in a way that is authentic and makes you feel loved and appreciated.
Facebook connects us with our friends and family members, as well as all the interesting news and products of the day. However, once Facebook no longer serves as a tool to keep you connected in a healthy way, it's important to sit back and think about how to regain control and how to reconnect with people offline. Facebook itself is not the problem, explains Kelly, it's how we choose to use it that makes the difference.
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