In this On Purpose episode, Jay Shetty discusses the impact of social media on people's mental health.

Recognizing the rising concerns and trends surrounding this issue, Jay aims to equip the listeners with strategies to regain control. He acknowledges that, historically, every technological leap has stirred excitement and apprehension. Yet, he emphasizes the importance of shifting focus from discussing the challenges to actively navigating this digital landscape.

Addiction to Social Media

Jay Shetty mentions that 46% of people feel compelled to undergo surgery to change their bodies due to social media influences1. Furthermore, 89% of individuals feel dissatisfied with their lives when comparing them to others on social media2. It's a universal feeling many of us have experienced – the fear of missing out (FOMO) and the anxiety it brings. Jay highlights that 32% of people are addicted to consuming negative online news, which leads to sharing and discussing more negative stories3.

It's a quirk of human psychology that we are drawn to negativity. But it's time to break this cycle. You can't eliminate these thoughts, but you can control your response. Rather than dwelling on dissatisfaction, use it as a catalyst for self-improvement. Jay Shetty encourages the listeners to ask themselves what would make them content and work toward those goals.

Similarly, when you encounter bad news, consciously steer conversations in a more positive direction. Be the catalyst for change among your friends, shifting the focus away from negativity.

Social media is addictive, similar to substances like nicotine. Our brains release dopamine when we engage with social media, creating a craving for more. Quitting social media can be as challenging as quitting cigarettes or alcohol, especially considering that young, still-developing brains are often exposed to it.

Jay Shetty urges the listeners to show empathy and compassion to themselves and others struggling with social media addiction. Instead of self-blame, acknowledge the design of these platforms to be addictive. We open the door to healthier choices when we release guilt and shame.

Excited for Others

In face-to-face conversations, people talk about themselves approximately 30 to 40% of the time, leaving the rest for discussing various topics, including world events4. However, the digital realm paints a different picture. On social media, individuals talk about themselves a staggering 80% of the time, doubling the self-focus compared to real life.

Jay Shetty points out that this excessive self-obsession isn't without consequences. Positive feedback triggers a rush of dopamine, providing a sense of reward. However, when faced with negativity, it can have the opposite effect, leading to feelings of sadness or anxiety.

Jay Shetty explains how people meticulously curate their online personas on social media, often taking more time to project an idealized image of themselves than in spontaneous, messy face-to-face interactions. This discrepancy can lead to a disconnection between our online and offline selves.

Therefore, Jay Shetty encourages the listeners to break free from the self-centered cycle and embrace positivity by commenting supportively on others' posts and genuinely celebrating their joy.

Moreover, another person's success does not diminish your opportunities for happiness or achievement. The belief that there are limited seats at life's grand table is a fallacy. Possibilities are limitless, and there's room for everyone to thrive. Rather than envy others' success, Jay Shetty suggests studying their journey, learning from their struggles, and using that knowledge to propel ourselves forward.

Jay encourages the listeners to recalibrate their social media usage. Instead of fixating on yourself 80% of the time, he proposes a more balanced approach:

  • Spend 30 to 40% of your time on personal content.
  • Devote another 30 to 40% to supporting friends and others.
  • Use the remaining 20% wisely by curating your digital environments to avoid triggering negative responses.

Go Analog

Nowadays, we are glued to our phones. However, it is essential to engage in activities without the constant presence of our devices. Jay Shetty advocates engaging in activities that demand our entire presence, like sports, to counteract this phone-centric lifestyle.

Additionally, Jay Shetty suggests putting phones away during social gatherings, such as dinners and brunches. He recommends creating a ritual with friends where everyone places their phones in a bowl or bag, ensuring no one is tempted to disrupt the moment with a screen. He acknowledges the common habit of starting a good conversation only to have phones sneakily find their way onto the table.e also advocates for a collective commitment to change this.

Jay Shetty admits that resisting the urge to check your phone during downtime can be challenging, especially when waiting for a friend or riding an elevator. He advocates for breaking the habit of using phones as "gap fillers" by being present at the moment. Instead of reaching for your phone, he suggests taking in your surroundings, observing people's attire, or simply enjoying the ambiance.

A study found that 94% of participants felt troubled when they didn't have their phones, and 80% admitted feeling jealous when someone else used them5. Additionally, 70% expected to feel depressed, panicked, and helpless if they couldn't find their phone. Another study revealed that 89% of undergraduate students experienced "phantom vibrations," a phenomenon where people imagine receiving notifications due to their intense craving for them6.

To help curb the reflex of reaching for your phone, Jay Shetty recommends setting a background image with a reminder to stay present. When you take out your phone, pause and ask yourself why you're using it. Do you need to check it at that moment? This small habit can create distance between you and your device during idle moments, promoting peace and ease.

Reduced Screen Time

Jay Shetty draws inspiration from the Bhagavad Gita, who highlights  that attachment and aversion are two sides of the same coin. If we obsessively hate or reject something, it still exists significantly. Therefore, he encourages the listeners to approach their social media habits with a balanced mindset, neither overly attached nor vehemently averse.

To help create healthy boundaries, Jay Shetty recommends designating "no-phone zones" and specific times to use the phone within your home. He suggests printing out signs reminiscent of "no smoking" signs, signaling areas where phones are off-limits. This fun and tangible approach can remind you and your guests to disconnect in specific spaces, such as the dining table or the bedroom.

Jay Shetty explains that limiting social media usage can profoundly impact mental health. Reducing social media to 10 minutes daily for a few weeks can lower loneliness and depression. Furthermore, dedicating only 30 minutes daily to social media can significantly reduce anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and the infamous FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

Jay acknowledges that he, too, enjoys using social media but has found a way to curate his online experience to include content that uplifts him and avoids triggers that provoke negative responses. So, he recommends establishing specific no-technology times, such as an hour before bedtime and the first few hours upon waking up, to make disconnecting easier.

Creating a morning routine that doesn't involve your phone can help kickstart a positive day. For example, Jay Shetty shares his experience of locking his phone and laptop in his car and using a traditional alarm clock to maintain his technology-free mornings.

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

Jay Shetty explains that social media relationships tend to be shallow, as people share less personal and intimate information. Consequently, we only see the curated, non-intimate public version of individuals, which we mistakenly trust as their reality.

Jay underscores the importance of fostering deeper relationships with people to combat this illusion. He clarifies that the goal of building deeper connections isn't solely to uncover others' struggles to ease our FOMO. Instead, it's a natural byproduct of getting to know people intimately. Deep relationships reveal that everyone faces stress, anxiety, and challenges, dismantling the myth of perfect lives.

Jay Shetty humbly admits that he, too, experiences stresses, anxieties, and challenges in his life. He emphasizes that without deep knowledge of someone, it's easy to assume they're doing fine based on their social media presence.

To overcome FOMO, Jay encourages us to engage in curious, vulnerable conversations with the people we care about, especially those we envy or feel FOMO about. By knowing them honestly, we'll realize that their lives, like ours, are imperfect.

Creation Over Consumption

Jay Shetty emphasizes the transformative power of becoming a creator rather than a consumer on social media. With over 200 million creators worldwide, he highlights that creators have less time to mindlessly consume because they are actively engaged in producing content.

Only 2% of creators, approximately 4 million individuals, have more than 100,000 followers, while the majority falls within the range of 10 to 1,000 followers. By adopting a creator mindset, your time on social media becomes more purposeful and strategic.

Jay Shetty encourages following accounts that align with your passions and interests. For instance, he mentions his favorite account, Amy Mcnay's Inspired to Write, which offers valuable advice for creatives. By curating your social media feed with content that inspires and uplifts you, you can transform your online experience.

He also highlights the importance of changing the ratio of content that inspires versus content that triggers negative emotions. Rather than being bombarded by things that bring you down, Jay suggests a shift towards content that motivates and empowers you. Ultimately, embracing the role of a creator can lead to a more enriching and fulfilling social media experience.

Purposeful Distractions

Jay Shetty suggests strategies and apps to help regain control over our social media usage. While recommending apps like Freedom for blocking distractions and others for website blocking and time tracking, he emphasizes the importance of having alternatives rather than just imposing restrictions.

Jay believes that rules and restrictions sometimes lead to a desire to break them. So, he encourages having healthier distractions readily available, like audiobooks or Kindle, to divert your attention from mindless scrolling. By making these alternatives your first choice, you can build a more balanced and conscious relationship with social media.

Yet developing a healthier relationship with social media may require discipline and effort. However, Jay Shetty emphasizes the value of these changes for overall well-being and encourages the listeners to try these techniques.

More From Jay Shetty

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “6 Step Plan to Block Social Media from Controlling Your Life and Mind” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at

1Walker, C.E., Krumhuber, E.G., Dayan, S. et al. Effects of social media use on desire for cosmetic surgery among young women. Curr Psychol 40, 3355–3364 (2021).
2Britain Daily Staff. “Shocking Report by Cybersmile Reveals 89% of UK Gen Z Social Media Users Feel Unsatisfied with Their Lives.” Web log. Britain Daily (blog), June 16, 2023.,Shocking%20report%20by%20Cybersmile%20reveals%2089%25%20of%20UK%20Gen%20Z,feel%20unsatisfied%20with%20their%20lives&text=A%20new%20report%20released%20today,to%20others%20on%20social%20media.
3Shabahang, R., Aruguete, M. S., & Shim, H. (2021). Online News Addiction: Future Anxiety, Fear of Missing Out on News, and Interpersonal Trust Contribute to Excessive Online News Consumption. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 11(2), e202105.
4Hilliard, Jena. “Social Media Addiction.” Web log. Addiction Center (blog), April 3, 2023.,staggering%2080%25%20of%20the%20time.  
5Margalit, Liraz. “Why We’re Addicted to Our Smartphones, But Not Our Tablets.” Web log. Psychology Today (blog), November 21, 2015.
6Drouin, Michelle & Kaiser, Daren & Miller, Daniel. (2012). Phantom vibrations among undergraduates: Prevalence and associated psychological characteristics. Computers in Human Behavior. 28. 1490–1496. 10.1016/j.chb.2012.03.013.

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