How many times have you picked up your phone and started scrolling through a news feed, with no intention whatsoever other than to kill time?
Have you noticed your mind start to fog up?
How many images have you looked at in the last 5 minutes?
Have you properly engaged with, and got something out of any of them?
Over the last few weeks on my Instagram account I have been focusing on social media mindfulness techniques and creating discussion around it.
I would like to share with you my findings, and I hope that this blog post will help you be able to sit back, relax and get the most meaning out of your social media use. It's not about the amount of time, but the quality of time spent on social after all.
Issue one: Social media as a 'highlights reel'.
I brought up the issue of vloggers (and everyone else) only showing their 'good days'.
This can be true but the reasons behind it can be varied, Often people just don't feel like videoing or posting on a down day.
Be mindful that everyone has these down days. It's normal. Nobody is perfect all the time!
When we get a message on social, often we over-analyze what the other person is saying. Often we can make up stories in our heads which lead to imaginary outcomes. Be mindful that it is just that. An imaginary outcome.
Reacting in the mindful way
Social media is wildly uncontrollable. If you get hurt out there on social media you are the one who needs to respond in a mindful way. If you have a heated discussion on social, a mindful approach to this would be to take a step back, calm down and remember that you can't change whats already happened - but that's okay!
We are all searching for the next bit of gratification when it comes to social media. We want more likes, more follows, more friends and we want them now! Think of this: all things come and all things go.
When you get in this mindset, take a step back and pause. Realize what you are doing and be able to smile at yourself.
Forgo the 'like' button and actually comment.
I remember before the like button on Facebook myself and my friends would have a lot of deep conversations that lasted for days about posts. Try bypassing the 'like' button and comment on every post that sparks your interest!
Think about your intention before you interact. Before you pick up your phone, think, what am I trying to achieve?
Maybe its to look up whats trending on twitter
Maybe its to look at the first 10 images on your Instagram feed and properly take in what you see.
Try not to get distracted.
Reduce how many tabs you have open
Nobody says you have to be doing a thousand things at once. Consider having one tab open at a time on your device, then you can focus on one task rather than many.
Live in the moment
Accept that your social media accounts are at where they need to be at this present moment. Try not to compare yourself to others, they are on their own journey.
If you are not using social in a mindful way, then it likely WILL impact your mental health, and not in a good way.
Ask yourself: is what I am reading, looking at and posting making me feel connected and uplifting me? and is it something that I believe is affecting others in a positive and meaningful way?
Social media is very real, it's not going away anytime soon, and it often affects peoples mindsets in a profound way. Be good with social.