Mindful Social Media Habits
Even with the news surrounding TikTok possibly being banned in the US, one thing is for certain, social media is not going anywhere. Whether we are personally or professionally following and posting on social media, our culture is entrenched with memes and constant screen time. The consequences of this new way of communicating is adding stress to an already performance-obsessed society, making our citizens feel more depressed and more sleep-deprived.
While we are hardwired for comparison, the effects of comparing ourselves to perfectly curated Instagram feeds can be detrimental to our emotional and mental well-being. If social media isn't going anywhere, then it is up to us, the users, to change our relationship with it. If we can shift how we engage with these apps to bring more mindfulness to each interaction with these platforms, we may find more opportunities for connection and inspiration right at our fingertips!
Establish Social Media Boundaries
Setting up boundaries regarding your social media habits is a great way to create impactful change while we are scrolling. Think about diversifying your feeds and following accounts that feel good and supportive. Notice when you are viewing a false representation of another person’s life. Notice when you are being targeted by the algorithm and advertisers, understand that you elected to participate in that exchange by using the app, and let go of any negative thoughts that arise. Setup time limits and consistent breaks from your electronics, such as not checking in first thing in the morning or not ending your day with social media.
*PRO-TIP: Charge your phone across the room, so you don't lay in bed scrolling in the dark!
Get Under the Right Influence
The great thing about social media is that world-renowned thought leaders, up to the minute news reporters, and regular-but-relatable individuals create conversations every daily on social media-- giving you inside access to knowledge and emotions that are important to you. If at any time these accounts feel triggering, it's okay to take a break from them.
The triggering can happen most often on Instagram when the #1 goal is your aesthetic. To take a break from that account, tap the flag icon at the bottom right corner of their latest post to "Save to Collection" in your profile. When you are ready to follow again, go to the three black lines of the menu on your account, half way down the list select Saved, with the same flag icon next to it, and you'll be able to find the account again to refollow.
Swipe Up to Your Subconscious
Next time you reach for your phone to check in on your favorite influencers, maybe give this mindfulness practice by Dr. Christopher Willard a try.
Try the social media mindfulness practice below to explore what your favorite apps and accounts are communicating to your subconscious:
Find a comfortable, alert, and ready posture. Shrug your shoulders, take a few breaths, and bring awareness to your physical and emotional state in this particular moment.
Now open your computer or click on your phone.
Before you open up your favorite social media site, consider your intentions and expectations. As you focus on the icon, notice what experiences you have in your mind and body.
Why are you about to check this site? What are you hoping to see or not see? How are you going to respond to different kinds of updates you encounter? By checking your social media, are you interested in connecting or in disconnecting and distracting?
Close your eyes and focus on your emotional state for three breaths before you begin to engage.
Opening your eyes now, look at the first status update or photo, and then sit back and close your eyes again.
Notice your response—your emotion. Is it excitement? Boredom? Jealousy? Regret? Fear? How do you experience this emotion in the mind and body? What’s the urge—to read on, to click a response, to share yourself, or something else?
Wait a breath or two for the sensations and emotions to fade, or focus on your breath, body, or surrounding sounds.
Try this practice with one social media update, or for three or five minutes, depending on your time and your practice
Noticing how social media makes you feel can help you discover how to use it more mindfully. As you become more aware of the emotions you’re actually inviting into your day when you visit social media sites, you’ll be able to make better decisions about how often to visit those sites.
Shanthi Project works hard to keep our social media accounts active, educational and uplifting! We connect with the community, school administrators and the business leaders everyday using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Follow us and DM us to share some of your go-to mindfulness accounts!