If there were a logo for self-gratification, it would be a giant Facebook thumbs up.
We live in a culture where it's perfectly acceptable to "do something for the Instagram" and "checking in" at every cool rooftop bar before we even order a drink is commonplace. In other words, we may be a little too attached to the social media "likes" and notifications afforded us by our smartphones.
Some research suggests our dependence may be due to our desire for instant gratification. Our brains react when we anticipate a reward (in the case of the Internet, a Facebook or Instagram "like"), according to behavioral psychologist Susan Weinschenk. But it isn't just experts -- even those of us who engage in this behavior are aware of its effect on us: According to one 2014 survey, 62 percent of adults feel better about themselves when people respond positively to something they post online.
There's no denying there's a feel-good confidence boost that comes from a social media stamp-of-approval. But there are plenty of other ways to recreate the brain's "reward" feeling that don't involve an illuminated screen.
Below are 23 things that feel better (and are better for you!) than a Facebook like.
1. Going for a run.
One word: Endorphins. The feel-good hormones, which are naturally released during exercise, are the perfect buzz when you need to perk up your outlook. No scrolling required.
Live your life like you've got an extra 10 minutes before your alarm goes off. Research shows that when you lose sleep, your stress levels skyrocket. Extra Z's > Extra likes on your status.
3. Petting your dog.
Or your cat, parrot or hedgehog. Studies show pets increase your happiness, but a 2014 HuffPost/YouGov poll found that 20 percent of pet owners would rather give up cuddles with their furry friends than their smartphones. Boo.
4. Getting a massage.
Personally, we'd give up loads of Facebook notifications for a relaxed body and mind. Not to mention, the practice has a ton of stress-relieving benefits.
5. Walking in the park.
Surrounding yourself with some green space instead of cyberspace could be the best thing you do for your mood all day. Research shows just a few minutes walking in nature can reduce depressive symptoms.
Laughter really is the best medicine -- especially when it's a belly laugh so hard it doubles as a core workout. Getting the giggles has been shown to reduce stress levels and may even boost your immune system. Can social media do that?
7. Eating a delicious meal.
Mouthwatering food and a little practice in mindful eating? Sign us up. Talk about feeling full-filled (get it?).
8. Reading a captivating book.
Aside from their ability to let you escape from reality, a good, old-fashioned novel boasts some major health perks. Reading has been linked to reduced stress, better sleep and maybe even a sharper brain.
9. Soaking in a hot bath.
You'll certainly be less stressed afterward (and we can't say the same about scrolling through your social media feeds). Say it with us: Ahhh.
10. Hanging out with your loved ones.
Real FaceTime with your BFF beats the screen version any day of the week (science even agrees).
11. Baking a new cookie recipe.
After all, "desserts" is "stressed" spelled backwards. There can even be a meditative element to cooking.
12. Smooching your significant other.
We'll take a real-life "like" over a Facebook one any day. Research shows that kissing can help ease cortisol, that pesky stress-provoking hormone, in the body. Pucker up!
13. Having a spontaneous dance party.
Research suggests that it'll boost your mood and it helps get that heart pumping. The goofier the moves, the more satisfying the session (or maybe that's just us.)
14. Planning a vacation.
Just think of all the possibilities (and even better if it's a place with no service). Studies suggest that the anticipation of a vacation may boost our happiness levels. Combine that joy trigger with the fact that vacation days help our well-being and you don't even need to check those notifications to feel elated.
15. Trying a new workout class.
Whether it's something trendy like SoulCycle, a fun spin on an old favorite like aerial yoga or a Zumba class at your local gym, go out on a limb and try something new -- and do it just for you, not your social media audience.
16. Listening to a really great song.
Music has a way of lifting us up because it releases a mood-enhancing chemical in the brain. So go on and press play on that new Taylor Swift single. No judgments if you listen to it on repeat (there's a scientific reason for that, anyway).
17. Taking in a good view.
We're wired to be inspired, whether it's a breathtaking nature scene or a spiritual experience. Research suggests that awe-inducing moments may make us happier and more creative. Not only that, we remember more about what we see if we're not capturing it through an iPhone screen. In other words, we may benefit more from soaking up that sunset instead of posting it for a few Instagram hearts.
18. Writing someone a letter.
Handwriting is a lost art form, not to mention the fact that it has some serious mental health perks. Plus, who doesn't love getting a comment in real life from someone they love? If we're honest, those mean way more than anything digital.
19. Surprising someone.
Random acts of kindness can go a long way. They lift up others, they boost your own well-being and they even help reduce social anxiety. That's way more satisfying than a little red notification bubble.
Instead of posting your negative thoughts in a Facebook status (much to the chagrin of others -- and probably fewer status likes anyway), try clearing your mind on a piece of paper. One study found that writing out what you're ruminating on and physically throwing it away can help clear your mind.
21. Enjoying good weather.
Is there anything better than a little sunshine and Vitamin D? We'll be craving it when winter comes knocking again. May as well ditch the screen inside and take advantage of it. Your brain and body will thank you for it.
22. Sorting through old photos.
Long live the memories. Indulging in a bit of nostalgia is good for us -- research suggests it may even increase our optimism. If you really want to dig through the past, try thumbing through a photo album.
23. Realizing you had a perfectly great day -- without your phone.
No explanation necessary. Take that, Facebook.