Do you find yourself spending way too much time on social media?
Whether we like it or not, the ubiquitous nature of social media seems to be here to stay. And that's not to suggest that all social media is bad - it can provide an opportunity for us to connect with friends and loved ones, learn about the world around us, or amuse and entertain ourselves at the end of a long day. It becomes problematic however when we use it on auto-pilot - mindlessly scrolling for hours on end, posting without being clear on our intentions for sharing, and comparing our real-life trials and tribulations to the highlight reel of somebody else's well-curated online persona.
Research suggests that the more time people spend on social media, the more likely they are to experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, and isolation. Consuming social media in the moment may feel good, but in the medium-to-long term excessive social media use can leave us feeling unhappy, dissatisfied, and frustrated.
So how can we bring some mindfulness to this everyday activity? Here are a few tips:
1. Try not to stay logged into your social media accounts all the time, so when you do decide to check Facebook or Instagram, you must stop and log in. This 5-second delay may be enough to break the habit of mindlessly and excessively checking your social media. If you're feeling particularly brave, you may even want to try uninstalling the app altogether for a week or two for a bit of a social media detox.
2. Before posting anything, pause, breathe, and evaluate your intentions for the post. Ask yourself - what am I trying to communicate here? What impact do I want to have? Am I unintentionally causing harm?
3. Mute or Unfollow social media accounts that leave you feeling anxious/stressed/ depressed/depleted. If these sites happen to be news-related, try checking in once a day or every other day if you must - whatever feels right for you.
4. Develop a schedule for when you will consume social media, and plan out in advance how much time you will spend on it. Use the timer on your phone to keep yourself accountable.
5. If your time on social media leaves you feeling a bit down try a quick 5-minute grounding mindfulness meditation, journaling your feelings, connecting with a friend or pet, or playing some of your favorite tunes to help reset and raise your energy levels.
What do you think? Could your social media use do with a bit more mindfulness? Let me know in the comments which tip you're going to try first!