Addicted to Online Shopping or Social Media? Here Are 3 Ways to Get Back Control 

Of all the times in history to have a shopping addiction, the 2020s have got to be the worst. Those with self-control problems are battling a fine-tuned e-commerce apparatus that makes it as-easy-as-possible to buy almost anything at the click of a button. Bending over backward to get you to click “add to cart,” web shopping sites offer fast and easy ways to return items, as well as payment plans that make saying ‘no’ all the more difficult for those affected with a difficulty controlling desires for special offers and sales. 

Shopping addiction existed before the web, but never before have people been able to fire up anything from Amazon to Etsy, place an order within a few minutes…and have it delivered the next day. And without calling out any companies by name, e-commerce retailers definitely use marketing tactics on their sites to – if not trick – then influence folks into buying stuff they probably don’t need (or perhaps not even want all that much).

So, what to do if you suffer from an online shopping addiction? Well, if technology is the problem, perhaps it can also be a part of the solution. 

1. Download a Blocking App

People who have trouble being distracted by the web – and that includes those with online shopping addictions — are now able to download what’s called a blocking app or a website blocker. 

Blocksite is a free and easy-to-use app that can sync across all your devices. It helps you set yourself up for success by removing temptation. If online shopping is the greatest hindrance to your productivity and quality of life, you could block e-commerce sites during work hours on work days – or during weekends if that’s when you often stumble into a shopping wormhole. 

If sports sites or social media is stopping you from being as productive as you would like to be at work, there’s a simple solution: simply block those sites for however long you think could help turn the tables on negative technology.

2. Find Some Non-Web (Natural) Way to Get a Dopamine Hit 

Online shopping addiction is now viewed by many in the same way as any other addiction, something requiring behavioral therapy, counseling, and some sort of 12-step program. But most addictions have to do with our primitive brain’s reward system. 

What else might you be able to do to give yourself a natural mini dopamine rush? Some people find that ‘getting addicted’ to a sport or a hobby can help alleviate feelings of wanting to get online for shopping. So consider what might work for you. Would you gain satisfaction from learning to play the guitar, for example? 

Speaking of music, when was the last time you enjoyed a full album? Actually listening to the music instead of listening while doing something else, is a whole other experience that can definitely provide dopamine sensations that can help curb your online shopping or online distraction addiction.

Good old-fashion sweaty exercise is awesome, but even just a walk around the block can do wonders for mood (which is affected by dopamine), and when you’re in a good mood, it’s easier to fight temptation. 

3. Eat a Better Diet and Get More Sleep

Not getting enough sleep means your dopamine receptors can be affected adversely. You might think you’re cool with just five hours a night, but the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get seven or more hours of sleep each night!

4. Eat the Right Foods

Tyrosine is an amino acid, and dopamine is made from this amino acid. This substance is naturally produced by the body, but you can increase dopamine levels by eating a healthy diet, especially foods that are rich in tyrosine. Foods such as these include eggs, chicken, fish, and almonds…to name just a few. 

Eating right is good for both your body and mind. Other natural probiotic, protein-rich foods such as yogurt and kefir can also be helpful.  

Enjoy some coffee if you like as it also helps boost dopamine, but never forget that caffeine can be addictive, too!  

There is freedom that comes with limitations. For some simply blocking the web with Blocksite is enough ‘tough love’ that can lead to avoiding the horrifically negative vicious cycle of overspending, compulsive shopping, lying about spending, ignoring consequences, and suffering from shopping guilt. And as we noted, blocking tech doesn’t only work for shopping. 

If your negative habit is spending way too many hours checking sports scores and watching highlights, or Words with Friends, or other social media, the solution is the same – block it during times when you should be working or studying – but don’t forget to also eat healthily and get those ZZZs! 

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