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Did you know you can make social media part of your mindfulness practice?
That’s right – you can actually take the much maligned social media (and assorted devices) and make them work positively for your mental health.
I know, I know – it seems a highly unattainable goal at first. Not with the myriad of emails, apps, chats, and news all desperately reaching through the phone to grab your attention.
But it can be done, let me show you how!
What is Mindfulness?
In order to understand how it can help us with social media, we must first know what mindfulness is exactly.
Mindfulness is when we approach life with a very intentional mindset by being fully present in the moment. Through this focus and careful practice, we attain the power to dictate where our energy goes, instead of having it hijacked by outside forces.
Meditation, intentions, and environmental mindfulness are just a few of the many tools to practice mindfulness. In today’s article, we’re going to be discussing how we can use these tools to better interact with social media.
If you’re curious to learn more about mindfulness – I’ve added a few of my top resources to check out on Amazon!
Why is it Important to Make Social Media Mindful?
For many of us, social media is all very overwhelming.
I know I’ve hit the infinite FB scroll point more times than I care to admit and felt just awful afterwards. Trolls, unkind viral memes, and endless drama are all produced and sustained by social media. Getting a “like” does the same thing to your brain as a hit of heroin.
But that’s exactly why we need to make social media a mind-full rather than a mind-less experience.
Because social media isn’t going away. In fact, it’s only going to become more popular in the future. So we’re going to have to learn to fight the trolls under FB bridge sooner or later.
And the best way to do that is through, you guessed it: mindfulness.
And I’m here to help! Check out these steps to make your SM experience energizing instead of soul-sucking.
Step One: Start with a Social Media Detox and a Self Audit
So we all know it’s really important to get away from phones and computers regularly to recharge our batteries (read the hows and whys of a Digital Detox here: https://www.spikenow.com/blog/take-a-break-from-tech-the-benefits-of-a-digital-detox/)
So yes, definitely take a break from Social Media!
But if you want to make your social media experience more mindful, it’s going to take more than a break. It’s going to require a serious audit of your own online habits to see what’s not serving you.
In order to do a Social Media Self Audit, you have to ask yourself the following:
- What pages and groups are you involved with? How do they make you feel?
- Do you feel safe to express yourself on SM? Or do you have to walk on eggshells because of judgement from friends/family members?
- Does your social media experience bring you joy? Why or why not?
- How often and when do you engage with media? – Is your first move in the morning to look at Facebook or Twitter? How much time do you spend each day looking at your phone?
Step Two: Curate your Social Media
Okay, now that you’ve considered some important factors it’s time to curate your social media.
Curation comes in two forms: adding and subtracting. These two methods help you gain control over what you see on a daily basis.
By subtracting you’re taking away things that no longer serve you (like that Grilled Cheese Masters Group you joined in 2011!?). You’re also removing distractions, reorganizing, and refreshing – just like Spring Cleaning for your house.
By adding you’re rebuilding your feeds with things that contribute to your mental wellbeing. These are pages, groups and people who align with your passions and interests, helping you grow.
Things to add:
- Pages, groups, chats and people who are genuinely interested in your growth
- Pages that challenge you mentally and emotionally (in a good way)
- An Instagram or Pinterest feed full of stuff to inspire your creativity
- Threads (like Reddit) that teach you something new and cool about your passions
- FB groups that stir mindful conversations and create community
- YouTube channels that bring you joy, fun, and inspiration
- Support groups filled with people of all stages of recovery
Things to Subtract:
- Pages, groups, chats and people who are consistently negative, toxic or feel unsafe to be around (even online)
- Pages that are not inclusive
- Spammy pages that shoot irrelevant content at you without your consent
- Annoying, repetitive ads (click here to learn how to set your ad preferences on FB)
- Pages/groups you don’t have time to participate in fully and mindfully
- Disorganized Pin Boards
- Support groups where the majority are not in recovery yet (nothing against these groups, they can just be triggering though for those in early stages of recovery)
Step Three: Engage Social Media Mindfully
How you engage with social media is just as important as what you’re engaging with. That means the next step is to learn how to interact with social media in a mindful way.
- Avoid social media first thing in the morning and right before bed
- Work on taking negative comments less personally (a great resource for this is the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz you can find it here on Amazon)
- Set a positive and/or protective intention when you log on (i.e. “today I’m going to learn something new on Facebook” or “I am in control of how social media makes me feel”). You can make up your own or use this cute set of Intention Cards
- Spend your emotional energy engaging with groups that support and validate your experience
- Set time limits/periods to engage social media and avoid using it when in the physical presence of others you wish to connect with
And there you have it, 3 steps to make social media mindful again!
Remember, the idea behind mindfulness is that you get to choose the content that permeates your life. It’s about taking back your time, space, and control in a world that desperately wants your attention.
What ways are you injecting mindfulness into your social media? Into other parts of your life? We want to know in the comments below 🙂
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