We’ve all done this, right? You post a selfie on Facebook or Instagram and within seconds you find yourself obsessively checking the app to gauge the response. The rush you get from every like, comment, and share is powerful and addictive. Instant gratification at its finest.

In the age of social media, we’ve grown accustomed to receiving validation online. We’ve given sources outside of ourselves the power to build us up or tear us down based on whether they choose to double tap or not.

Most of us are at least a little guilty of getting sucked into the social media vortex from time to time. But if you already struggle on some level with feelings of inadequacy, social media can become an unhealthy obsession when other people’s reactions to your online persona become critical to your feelings of self-worth.

How can you tell if social media has become more harmful to you than helpful? Here are 4 signs you may need a little bit of a break from social:

1. You’re following accounts that make you feel less than.

Do you find yourself scrolling through your newsfeed wishing you were skinner, took more epic vacations, built a 7 figure business, or had a boyfriend who served you breakfast in bed every morning? Comparing your actual life to someone else’s carefully curated highlight reel is a surefire way to feel inadequate fast.

The good news is, you get to decide who and what you give your attention to so if you find your social feeds are filled with accounts that don’t inspire, motivate, and uplift you, it’s time to click the unfollow button!

2. Your mood is dictated by the number of likes and comments you get.

You have a specific number in your head. If your post gets that many likes, you’re good; less than that and you feel like shit. While it’s true that positive feedback on Instagram or Facebook feels good in the moment, those likes and comments are a poor substitute for real attention and affection. Validation from other people can’t take the place of learning to love yourself exactly as you are right now.Learning to love yourself is a journey that can’t be made in a day, but you can start by recognising that the attention you receive on social media doesn’t fulfil you or make you feel worthy in the long term. Set limits on your social media time (literally, set a timer) and make it a point to do more things that make you feel good and allow you to be present in real life.

3. You’re focused on creating picture-perfect moments rather than experiencing life.

A lot of my clients have found themselves planning experiences around the images they want to share on social media rather than enjoying the moment. They’ll go on incredible vacations and spend more time making sure they’re getting the perfect shots rather than appreciating the beauty around them. It’s like they’re experiencing life through the lens of the camera instead of participating in the actual event. That’s not living! That’s orchestrating your life to look good online and it causes you to miss out on the incredible, organic moments you can’t curate.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want life to pass me by because I’m busy trying to document it. Try this instead: the next time you go someplace or do something where you’d normally snap a bunch of photos, turn your phone OFF and take in the scenery with your own eyes. What do you see? What do you smell and hear? What do you feel? Sit with it all for a minute or two. Don’t experience the important moments in your life as images on your screen.

4. The more engagement your posts get, the more important you feel.

Do you feel a boost when lots of people interact with your posts? Does a lot of interaction make you feel more worthy? More relevant? Nobody’s perfect and we all get caught up in the social media popularity contest sometimes. But let me tell you a secret. Real confidence doesn’t come from external sources. Our level of confidence is determined by how we think about and talk to ourselves. Unshakeable Confidence comes from understanding that your value is not determined by what other people think of you.

So tell me…have you found social media to be more harmful than helpful sometimes? Have you ever felt the need to take a break from it? Hit reply! I’d love to hear more about your experience with social media and how you find the balance between real life and life online.

Agata Galuszka Life and Success Coach & Founder of Ultimate Confidence, LTD.