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Addicted to 'likes'? Here's how to quit

By Ruan Fan ( chinadaily.com.cn ) Updated: 2016-06-02 11:26:41

Addicted to 'likes'? Here's how to quit

[File photo]

How many times do you check your Moments or Facebook page in a day to see whether your latest post has got another "like" or "thumbs up"?

Although you might be embarrassed to admit how many times you do this, don't worry - psychological findings have shown it's completely normal.

In fact, the pleasure we derive from getting a "like" is equal to that of eating chocolate or winning money, and we can't help wanting more.

According to the findings of the UCLA Brain Mapping Center, which observed 32 teens aged between 13 and 18, the feedback circuit in the teens' brains are particularly sensitive, and the "social" and "visual" parts of their brains were activated when they received "likes" on an Instagram-like social network.

The research also showed that though the thumbs up might come from complete strangers, the good they derive from it worked all the same.

So, does it mean we should try our best to win as many thumbs up as possible?

Not necessarily so if we know the reasons behind our desire for attention.

In "Why do people crave attention" by M.Farouk Radwan, he explained several cases in which people naturally longed for attention.

Radwan said people who were an only child, who were used to being the center of attention in their house, may try to replicate these conditions. Feeling "overlooked and unappreciated" might also lead you to crave for attention. Other times, the state of being jealous, or wanting to cover your mistakes may also contribute to such longings.

In fact, too much desire for attention can create anxiety, and in turn ruin your happiness even when you get it.

So what can we do about it? The answer is quite simple.

"If people could adopt goals not focused on their own self-esteem but on something larger than their self, such as what they can create or contribute to others, they would be less susceptible to some of the negative effects of pursuing self-esteem," wrote psychology professor Jennifer Crocker in the Journal of Social Issues.

Crocker suggests that "it's about having a goal that is bigger than the self."

So perhaps the answer to our addiction to "likes" is simply to focus on something larger than ourselves - a tall order, but a worthy one.

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