10 mins Delayed Gratification technique for Social Media Addiction

Social media addiction is a serious problem for those who are addicted to it or in other words most of the users. What makes this problem more serious and concerning is the lack of medical and psychological support available for this. Many of us are looking for home remedies and cures to treat such kind of addiction but unfortunately, we are not getting any solution. The 10 mins Delayed Gratification technique is a very effective technique for overcoming all types of addictions including social media addiction.

Here is a scientific solution to this problem and it is one of the most effective solutions to cure most of our addictions.

Firstly, it’s very important for us to understand the reasons why social media is addictive.

What causes Social Media addiction?

There is a detailed article written on the same topic explaining what are the different causes of social media addiction. One of the reasons for social media to be addictive is that it’s programmed in such a manner to be addictive. Another reason is that it provides us an alternative to the real world and helps us to forget our real-world problems. The brains behind social media platforms know the concept of dopamine and use it in making us addicted to it.

User Vs Addict

We also need to understand who is an addict. Not every social media user is an addict but yes most of them are!

Anyone who is using social media for a limited time and in a controlled manner is a social media user. While a person who is unable to control himself/ herself and uses social media in an un-regulated manner is an addict. A social media addict will not be able to control his/her urges to use social media. This person will be forced to use social media even when he/she has to do something important.

This is similar to other forms of addictions like alcohol addiction. Not every person who consumes alcohol is an addict. A person might occasionally consume alcohol. But if a person drinks alcohol daily and is unable to even sleep or perform other important life processes without consuming it, can be called an addict. The same goes for social media.

10 mins Delayed Gratification Technique

So what is 10 minutes Delayed gratification technique? And how will this help you overcome your addiction?

Let’s understand this using the very popular psychological experiment conducted by Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment

The ‘Marshmallow Experiment’ was conducted by Walter Mischel at Stanford University in which he studied the effect of delayed gratification on small children. In this experiment, a marshmallow was kept in front of children and they were given a bell in their hands. They were told that if they can wait for 15 minutes more, not eating the Marshmallow, then they will be rewarded another marshmallow. Some of the children became impatient and rang the bell to consume the first Marshmallow, while some waited patiently for 15 minutes and got another Marshmallow.

The same children were tracked again after a certain period of time (10 years-20 years) and the result that was observed surprised many.

All those children who managed to wait for 15 minutes to get another marshmallow were found to be more successful in their academics and professional lives. Also, it was found that many of those children (then turned adults) had less- drug problems, hyperactivity/ aggressive disorders, stress, divorce rates, and many other problems. They were found to be much more successful as compared to their peers who were unable to control themselves and didn’t wait for more than 15 minutes.

What is the Delayed Gratification Technique?

Delayed Gratification is a technique in which a person postpones or resists his/her actions which are based on temptations or urge related to unimportant things. This involves sacrificing short term rewards in return for better future rewards. A simple example of this a student who sacrifices short term rewards like playing a video game in order to achieve better future rewards like getting good marks in exams.

It is a recognized psychological technique that is used in helping people undergoing different forms of addictions, anxieties, and even depression.  

Implementing Delayed Gratification Technique

How can we implement this 10 mins Delayed Gratification technique to overcome social media addiction?

To apply this technique in order to curb your social media addiction you need to simply delay/ postpone the action of opening social media whenever you have an urge to use it. If you’re a social media addict, then you would be having strong urges/temptations to use social media throughout the day.

So, whenever you have an urge to use social media and your mind wants you to pick up your phone, you have to delay that action by some fixed duration of time. You can start with any duration of time like 5/10/15 minutes (10 minutes is suggested). Whenever an urge comes, set a timer or record the time on a watch and wait for 10 minutes before touching your phone.

You can do anything in those 10 minutes, like eating, walking, reading a book, dancing, or simply staring at the watch and waiting for 10 minutes. Yes, initially the urge might be very strong and it will be difficult to implement and patiently wait for 10 minutes. But doing this regularly will help you in overcoming social media addiction.

Here is an example:-

Let’s suppose you wake up in the morning and want to check the notifications of your social media apps. You might be in a habit of simply opening the apps but now you have to wait before opening anything! Make sure you set a timer on your phone for 10 minutes and wait for this time to complete. Once you have done this then you can freely use social media.

Again after breakfast you will be wanting to use social media, so just wait for 10 minutes and then open it. Repeat this task of patiently waiting 10 minutes throughout the day, whenever you have a strong desire to use it.

How does this technique help us?

You might be aware of the role of dopamine in social media addiction or in any other type of addiction. Dopamine is a chemical that gets secreted in our brain whenever we do something very pleasing, like eating sugar, smoking, or even social media addiction. This chemical is the main cause of our addiction to social media. As social media is based on the principle of- ‘instant gratification’ and ‘immediate rewards’ in the form of likes, comments, and other notifications. Dopamine gets released more often and we get addicted easily to it.

But when we use this 10 mins Delayed gratification technique, this dopamine secretion gets released after some delay. This delay in this gratification forces our minds to believe that whatever we are doing is not much important and rewarding. Our mind starts believing that social media is not very pleasing and doesn’t require our immediate attention. Hence, in this way, we can break the chain of our addiction.

Also, the second reason why this technique helps us to overcome social media addiction is the ‘10 minutes’ involved in the process. Whenever you will start the timer and wait for 10 minutes, you will not simply sit and wait, because sitting and waiting is a very difficult task to do. There is a much higher chance that you will find a new distraction in that time period. Some of the people might start reading a book or newspaper or go to cook in that period, or simply dance in that period. Most of the time when you will be doing any of these things, you will forget the fact that you were interested in opening social media. And this is a possibility that you will not open social media in the next few minutes or even hours.

Now, if you are able to distract yourself from social media for10 minutes or half an hour or an hour, you will be gaining confidence and start becoming more patient. You will learn the most important skill of controlling your mind or in other words ignoring the unimportant urges of your mind.

Benefits of 10 mins Delayed Gratification Technique:-

This technique is not only helpful in overcoming social media addiction but many other problems can be cured if you apply this technique in your lifestyle, like:-

  1. Social Media Addiction
  2. Alcohol/ Drugs/ cigarette addiction
  3. The problem of overeating/ eating after every small interval
  4. Anxieties
  5. Depression
  6. Academic/ professional success by curbing distractions
  7. Overcoming anger
  8. Increasing attention span

Note- There is not much evidence that this technique will be useful for everyone and in social media addiction. This will not help indirectly overcoming social media addiction but this will help in helping us in controlling our mind and increasing our will power.

Also Check:-

Rise of social media- What led to its development?

Have you ever wondered what led to the development and rise of social media? Is it simply a byproduct of technology? Why do we use social media?

These questions are of great significance for every social media user. But unfortunately, no one bothers to ask or answer these questions. If we ask or answer these questions we will be able to use social media in a much better way than we are doing it right now.

As many people are misusing or overusing social media, it is important to discuss what led to the development of social media.

Rise of Social Media- Early 2000s

Email services and chatrooms were popular among internet users in the late 1990s. But we cannot count them as social media platforms because of lack of features.

The early 2000s was the time when social media started to appear. The first well known social networking site was Myspace which had more than 100 million users worldwide. After Myspace several other networks like Youtube, Facebook and some instant messaging platforms emerged.

And this was the beginning of social media era.

Need of Social Media in initial days

But what led to such an exponential expansion of social media?

To answer this, we should define social media first. According to Wikipedia, the term social media can be defined as:-

Social media are interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation or sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.

Wikipedia’s definition of social media
Rise of Social Media from 2010-2022*(estimated)
Rise of Social Media from 2010-2022*(estimated)

So the question of the cause of exponential growth of social media has multiple answers and all are equally valid. Social media can be thought of as a byproduct of technology, a means of faster communication and majorly a simple tool to connect with the world. 

1. Social Media- Byproduct of Technology

There should be no hesitation in saying that social media is a byproduct of technology. The rise of internet users in the last two decades is proportional to the rise of social media. The more the internet expanded the more number of social media platforms were developed.

The internet didn’t invent many new things but it simply transformed real-life things and activities to virtual mode. Like mail got transformed to e-mail or like stock trades could be now traded using online terminals. Similarly, social media emerged as a transformation of real life because of technology.

2. Faster and better means of communication

The second reason what led to the development and rise of social media was that it was a better means of communication.

Social media helped in providing a faster means of communication than the previous methods of online communications. The sharing of images, video files and chatting could be easily done on one single platform and also simultaneously. This helped in the growth of social media platforms.

3. A tool for social connection

This was one of the main reasons for the rising interest of people on social media platforms. And understanding this reason can help us in dealing with most of our problems related to social media.

 Connecting with the world at one click was never possible through any means of technology but social media helped us in this. Many of the founders of social media platforms often used (and still use) to describe social media as the way to ‘connect with the world’.

The ‘social’ element in social media attracted a lot of people, especially in western society. The concept that you can talk to a random person and become his/ her ‘friend’ was never too easy. But social media allowed us to interact with random strangers and even become close friends.

The terms used in various social media platforms like ‘friend’, ‘follower’, ‘connection’, etc. made these platforms appear more social. Getting appreciations in various forms like ‘likes’, ‘comments’, ‘shares’, etc. motivated people to freely express their pictures and even social and political opinions.

Social media turned out to as a boon for people especially the youth in its early days.

Social Media: Then Vs Now

Though it is difficult to say whether social media is still advantageous for present-day users or not. This is because of many problems being encountered by users like data theft, lack of privacy, cyberbullying, political propaganda, fake news, approval cycles in teenagers and the most common being the social media addiction.

The present-day usage is much different from what was expected during the initial days of social media or the reasons for the rise of social media.

So if someone wants to use social media then he/she must use it as a simple tool for communication and connecting with people rather than an alternative to the real world. This will help him/her in not getting trapped into the vicious cycle of likes, comments and shares and the problem of social media addiction could also be avoided easily.

Also Check:-

What is social media addiction? Symptoms/signs & Causes

What causes social media addiction? What are the symptoms and signs of social media addiction? In this article, we will discuss in detail about social media addiction symptoms, causes and why social media is bad.

What is Social Media Addiction

Social Media Addiction is a new type of addiction which can be simply defined as the continuous urge to use social media and using it more than it’s required. A person who is addicted to social media develops a habit of continuously checking and updating posts on social media and spending too much time on it.

Social media addiction signs

Like any other type of addiction, social media addiction is found to be equally dangerous and moreover the lack of information available about this subject makes the situation worse for those who are addicted.

Internet Addiction Vs Social Media Addiction

A very common question which people have is about the difference between internet addiction and social media addiction. Actually Social Media addiction is a form of internet addiction. The increase in the coverage of the internet across the world is giving people access to different social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tik-Tok, etc.

Since almost everyone uses social media nowadays, this makes the number of addicts very high and most of the people addicted are of a very young age. But not everyone who uses social media is addicted to it.

To find whether you are addicted to social media it is important to know what are the signs or symptoms of social media addiction.

Diagnosis of Social Media Addiction

  • Do you sometimes get lost on Facebook or Instagram or any other social networking site and suddenly realize that from last 1 or 2 or even 3 hours you have been just scrolling and liking and commenting on various posts on your feed?
  • And what do you do when you wake up in the morning? Do you open various social media applications and check notifications and posts even before brushing your teeth?
  • Can you stay away from social media for a few days without experiencing any anxiety or stress?

These questions are very important for someone who wants to diagnose whether he/she is addicted to social media.

Symptoms of Social Media Addiction:-

Since this form of addiction has not been medically explored much, there are not any standard signs and symptoms of this problem. But still, from the very limited psychological studies done in this area, we can infer some visible differences between those who are addicted and those who don’t use social media much.   

The following are the symptoms of Social Media Addiction:-

  1. Feeling anxious/ depressed if unable to use social media for a few days. Many social media addicts themselves admit that they cannot live without the internet for even a day.
  2. Checking the notifications of social media apps after every small interval of time. A person who is addicted to social media usually checks his/her phone every 30 minutes or even lesser than this.
  3. Skipping/ delaying/ postponing all the important tasks like bathing, eating or even going to office/ school/ college because of overusing social media. Many of those who are addicted to social media use social media before going to bed and also as soon as they wake up in the morning.
  4. Constantly Monitoring the likes/ comments/ views on social media platforms.
  5. Constantly updating/ posting pictures/ status about everything which one is doing.
  6. Preferring Social Media Platforms over real-life for talking/ communicating/ expressing.

There can be many other symptoms of social media addiction and all have one common thing– an urge to use social media again and again.

Causes Of Social Media Addiction:-

As social media addiction is nothing but over and compulsive use of social media. So to understand what causes social media addiction we need to understand why a person uses social media.

There are 4 main causes of why we people use social media or why social media addiction occurs:-

  1. Escape from Real World
  2. Instant Gratification & Dopamine
  3. FOMO & peer pressure
  4. Social Media is Addictive

1. Escape from the ‘real world’

The most common reason why people overuse social media is that as many of us are bored or stressed in the ‘real world’. Social media provides us with a platform to live in another kind of world known as the ‘virtual world’. In this virtual world, a person has greater control over the society unlike in the real one.

For example, here we can listen or follow only whom we want to and can block all the others whom we don’t like. In real life, a person might be shy and fearful, but on social media, he/she can say whatever he wants and can even abuse or troll if he/she doesn’t agree to someone else’s opinion.

Social media helps people to escape from their busy and stressful routine and allows them to play the role of a different person.

2. Instant Gratification & ‘Dopamine’

If you are not familiar with what dopamine is, then you should simply know that dopamine is a chemical that motivates us to repeat certain activities. Whenever we do an act of pleasure like eating or even consuming some addictive substance, the dopamine is released in our brain, which suggests the brain to repeat the action again and again.

The same chemical is released when we use social media. Social media provides us with unlimited rewards in the form of notifications- likes, comments or shares. This results in release of dopamine which and makes us repeat this behavior again and again. This forces us to desire more likes, comments, and shares.

Dopamine is responsible for many great things in our lives like motivating us to exercise or even to study, but it’s also responsible for our bad habits like various forms of addictions like cocaine, alcohol or even social media.

3. FOMO and Peer pressure

The social media has become so common nowadays that if someone does not use any social media platform he/she is stigmatized or called weird by others. Instead of asking for a phone number or any other details people prefer asking Instagram username.

This forces people who don’t want to use social media to create accounts and use social media so that they don’t miss out anything. This is known as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). This is very common in teenagers due to peer pressure.

4. Social Media is Addictive!

The fourth reason why people use or overuse social media is that social media is actually addictive. The brains behind social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. have designed social media in such a manner that anyone who starts spending some time gets addicted to them.

Sean Parker, an early investor of Facebook himself admits that Facebook is ‘designed to be addictive’. He says that social media platform like Facebook ‘aims to consume as much as your time and attention’.

So it’s not only your fault that you are addicted to it because these platforms are built in such a manner to trap you.

Why is Social Media Addiction a Problem?

Rain is very important in the growth of certain seasonal crops. But what happens when it rains heavily and results in a flood? All the crops will be destroyed.

Similarly, social media is a great way of connecting with people and sharing our thoughts with the world. But if we use it in excess it can be harmful to us in many ways. It becomes problematic when we ignore the real world and start living in this virtual world.

As almost everyone uses social networking, so it is essential for us to identify whether we are using social media or social media is using us!

Pictures Courtesy- Pixabay & Pexels

Also check how you can spend your time in this lockdown period:-

Productive Alternatives to Social Media During COVID-19 Lockdown

6 Productive Alternatives to Social Media During COVID-19 Lockdown

The use of social media has been increased in the last few weeks which is leading to problems like social media addiction. But can we utilise this time for something fruitful? This article will help you to provide simple yet productive alternatives to social media during the COVID-19 Lockdown.

The COVID-19 Lockdown

Most of the countries across the globe are going through the COVID19 pandemic which has forced governments to implement lock-downs i.e. restricting people to go out of their houses. and in most of the countries, experts suggest that this lockdown will be long term. This is a great opportunity for all of us to spend time with ourselves or family, read something, learn some new skills and do various other things. But if we consciously observe ourselves, we will find that we are not utilizing this time in any of the above. Instead, we are wasting our time on our smartphones through various apps, primarily through social media during the COVID-19 lockdown.

COVID-19 Crisis

Social Media during the lockdown

Social media is a great instrument during such an emergency, through which one can ask for help or even provide help to others. You can track new scientific findings, know more about the disease or gather some other information. But if we observe our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds, we will find only very few such informative posts. Most of the posts are of no use and instead of helping us are scaring us, giving various anxieties, which is worsening the situation for us. 

But have you noticed that we are spending much more time on social media during the lockdown as compared to earlier days? This is not something very great!

Use of Social Media During the Lockdown?

The answer is a big ‘no‘. Now many will say that social media provides you information, updates, or entertains us, etc. But all the findings can be read on any news website in a more detailed manner. Actually, social media is not providing you with any updates, it’s simply providing you opinions and in the most frightening way. Most of the videos which we are watching and sharing are fake and out of context. Also, the overuse of social media is causing addiction in youth which can be challenging to tackle.

Social Media- Not a form of Entertainment

 Most of us think that social media is a form of entertainment but this is wrong. Entertainment is not the means of getting tired and unfocused, it’s just the opposite i.e. to make you relax. When you scroll on your feed on any social media platform you become more distracted and more tired. So, social media should not be thought of as a medium to entertain yourself. Social media platforms are great ways to get distracted and more tired. 

Social Media Not a form of entertainment
Social media is not a form of entertainment!

Hypochondriasis

We must also know a very common fact that we become what we see/observe and think. Many people are developing symptoms like difficulty in breathing only because of seeing too much content related to that, causing hypochondriasis. Many of us are watching movies, documentaries, and various other content related to COVID-19 on social media, which is forcing us to think of the symptoms and sometimes we feel that we have got infected. 

And even if we want to use social media we can use it for some time like an hour or 2. But are we even tracking how much we are using it?

6 Alternatives To Social Media

This is a fact that many of us always wished to take a long leave, so that we can relax at home and do all the pending tasks like completing a book, learning to play the guitar, or even simply relaxing and meditating. And here is the right opportunity! Yes, there is a little difference between our wish and current situation i.e. we are ‘forced‘ to do stay inside. Whenever something is imposed on someone there is always a sense of frustration and revolt. But we must understand the gravity of the situation and seek the best what we can from this moment.

Opportunity in Crisis

Albert Einstein said, in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity. Yes, this is a very tough time for many of us, some of us or someone dear to us might be unwell and probably many of us might be suffering from even a financial crisis. But still, we can do something creative and productive during this time instead of just spending time on social media. Something productive can be done as throughout history we never had such an opportunity. Ask your parents or grandparents whether they were forced to live inside their houses for such a long duration, the answer will be ‘no’. So we should utilise this opportunity and do something productive in this time instead of spending and wasting time on social media.


We can do various things during this period which can help us grow physically, mentally or even professionally:-

1. Learning a Professional Skill-You should be aware that the International Monetary Fund(IMF) has predicted that there can be a global recession in the coming time due to the global Pandemic of COVID-19. This recession will lead to a shrinking of GDPs of 170 nations which will cause unemployment in most of the countries. 

Learn a Professional Skill for Free
Learn a Professional Skill for Free

So we will see a high competition in our professional lives in the coming months. Hence you can prepare yourself for the coming time by learning a new professional skill. This can be anything related to your profession or course, if you are in college, you can learn a new programming language, a certificate course in Finance, video editing, or anything else. There are various platforms which are providing online certificate courses including an MBA program at a very cheap price. You can also use platforms like Youtube for free of cost lessons.
There are various free certificate courses which are provided by some prestigious universities like Harvard and Oxford

2. Discovering or Nurturing a Hobby– You can use this ample time in nurturing your hobby like painting, dancing, singing, etc. And if you haven’t discovered your hobby till this point of time, this is the right moment. Just try things which you always wanted to do, this can be making and uploading a video on Youtube, learning and playing an instrument, or even writing a blog on some topic.

Explore or nurture your hobby
Explore or nurture your hobby

3. Finishing a Book– Whether you are a bookworm or not you should consider finishing a new book in this lockdown period. This book can be of any genre like fiction, non-fiction, drama, or anything related to your profession. Reading a book will make you more creative, fresh and confident. You can use the internet for getting any ebook as getting a hardcopy of the books will be difficult during this period.

4. Cooking– Cooking is one of the most important skill one can acquire during this time. If you learn the art of cooking you can ensure that you don’t depend on someone else for your food, especially in such an emergency where most of the restaurants are closed. 



5. Exercising– Everyone is advised to do Yoga or some indoor exercises that will relax you physically as well as mentally. Since we are not moving much it is important to exercise and keep ourselves fit. Exercising also improves immunity

Meditate and Exercise- alternative to social media
Meditate and Exercise instead of using Social Media




6. Meditation– Meditation is often regarded as a complex as well as a fancy phenomenon like chanting some mantra. But meditation simply means being conscious of ourselves. So in simpler words, one can meditate while doing anything by being conscious and aware of yourself. A very simple method of meditation is sitting or laying on you back and observing your breath.

Divide Your Time

In the end, we should acknowledge the fact that social media is not bad until we use it too much but it has many disadvantages if spend a long time in it. Instead of spending your entire time on social media, you should utilize your time in doing various productive things and in taking care of your body and mind.

There can be various other ways by which you can utilize your time in a productive and creative manner. You can suggest some more alternatives to social media in the comments.

Pictures Courtesy- Pexels

What is social media addiction? Symptoms/signs & Causes