Action Take Away: Begin by forming more traditional relationships: calling to talk to friends and loved ones and making it a habit. An Experiment. SMART GOAL: 2 Calls to Friends and loved ones per week from basically less than 1/quarter.
I grew up in the 90s and was the generation who loved to call friends and spend hours talking on the phone. It should not be so hard to go back to that skill of conversation - taking turns listening to each one share.
Getting out of the dependency of Social Media is to set aside time to hangout with friends and loved ones outside our household 1-2x a week.
Its a combination of suffering the temptation and disappointment of having my usual Feedback/Validation Fix in Social Media taken away, while rekindling or re-activating a more basic pleasure of human connection of just talking with friends during the pandemic.
I believe it's these 2 pronged actions where I can hack my motivations and expectations (dopamine hacking). That I will feel the pleasure of human connection, and my brain doesn't know what to do with it because its atrophied so long and it such a subtle feeling that can only be measured by my general mood and not something I can feel (years of adult suppression habits). As well as immediately feeling the consequences of reduced Social Media - creating an emptiness that leads me to binge.
I think consciously I believe am replacing one for the other, but Unconsciouly my Mind would not see the connection for a while. My mind will not know that one replaces the other and will still calculate a "LOSS" or Pleasure/Happiness "liability" and thus I will feel dissatisfied for the duration until my brain will make an unconscious connection.
One key thing I learned about Meditation is that its like a Placebo: It works on forces that I have no conscious control over as much as I am skeptical and understand the science. Its like a classic IT problem: IT DOESNT MAKE SENSE THAT IT WORKS, but it works.