“We don’t have a choice in whether we use social media, the question is how well we choose to use it”
Social media is a powerful force, but it appears to be a double-edged sword. While it can bring people together from different corners of the world, it can also isolate us from those who matter the most.
While the covid-19 pandemic has led us to be more dependent on the use of social media, it has also led to increased anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and an unhealthy dependency on its users.
Having a positive and mindful social media experience is possible, it is all about fostering a sense of awareness and drawing boundaries where necessary.
Following are some of the tips on how to mindfully consume social media:
1. Define what you want from your social media experience
Make it a point to explore what you really what from social media? Do you want to connect with friends, distant relatives? Or do you want to keep up with latest trends, pop culture, celebrities? We often choose to follow those who follow us, or friend us, when we really might not be interested in what they have to offer. Try to mindfully consider what exactly is it that you need from these platforms. You need to curate your social media environment according to your needs.
2. Clean up your feeds
Take time to clean up feeds and friend lists and search for the things you really care about.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it is absolutely okay to declutter your friends’ list. Say goodbye to anyone who isn’t adding value to your life. Consciously follow only those people who bring joy into your life and get rid of those who bring negativity. Scrolling through your feed should fuel you up, not drain you.
3. Engage with posts and people
Scrolling through one’s feed is often never-ending. If you have curated your feed, each post will mean something to you. Try to focus on a single post at a time and take it all in. Read the words and look carefully at what the picture is trying to tell you. We often scroll through numerous posts without actually paying attention to them. Paying attention to each post will make you reconsider their value. If you are using social media to stay in touch with people, do exactly that! Drop them a message instead of viewing their stories and posts. Actively engage with the people who matter.
4. Cultivate a detached response to criticism and comments
If you are on social media, you are going to get criticized or come across a comment that might infuriate you. When you receive a negative comment from someone, take a second to reflect on it before responding. Is it true? Will it be helpful to respond to it? When you come across a heated argument on social media, ask yourself, will it be constructive to respond to it? Am I going to learn anything by getting into this argument? Chances are – your answer is no. Detach from your impulses and be honest to yourself. Keep your power and maintain your peace by turning the other cheek to critics.
5. Don’t slow down to look at the car accident
Looking at disturbing posts is surely compelling. It’s understandable that one wants to know what is going on. But you don’t need to see it. You don’t need to see images that will haunt you at night and create a cycle of guilt and sadness. You can keep up with the news without having to view such posts. It is okay to block certain people who share horrifying things, even if their intentions are true. You can also mute them if needed or skip their posts. You need to take care of your own mental health first.
6. Turn off your alerts and track your usage
Getting alerts at all times of the day can be stressful and distracting. You can use the Do not disturb function on your Apple or Android device to switch off alerts from all apps. You can also manage this application wise. If usage is really a problem, there are many free apps that will track how much time you’re spending on your phone. Some phones also do that automatically. Sometimes keeping a track of your social media usage can be helpful in changing your habits.
7. Have a no phones rule
Identify a time when you won’t look at your phone, or a place where you won’t look at your phone. You might find it useful to have a no phone rule for the first hour when you wake up, or before sleeping at night. Set timings for yourself if needed and make sure to be firm with them. Encourage a no phones rule especially during mealtimes and focus on interactions with your family or flat mates. You might get the urge to use your phone during such times but remember that it is important to be present in that moment, and you can always have a look at your phone later.
8. Don’t be afraid to quit
If needed, deactivate your social media account. You can always come back to it later! Take that much needed break. If social media is not having a positive impact on your life, then shut it down. It is not important to know what each person on your list is doing at every point of the day. If they are important, they will find other ways to stay in touch with you. Taking a break from social media can lead to wonders and will probably make you a changed person.
Some of these suggestions might seem tough, but with practice and time it is definitely possible to inculcate them on a daily basis. Remember to ground yourself and create a social media practice that works for your mental and emotional health. There’s a real world out there living and breathing around you. Don’t forget to enjoy it from time to time.
“Posting less, Doing more, Comparing less, Reflecting more, Discussing less, Accomplishing more”
Written by- Mehek Rohira
Your mental health matters as much as your physical health. Don't hesitate to take a step towards your mental well-being. If you’re looking at talking to a professional, book your Initial Consultation with us on https://www.themoodspace.com/freeconsultation or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a step towards bettering your mental wellbeing because you deserve it!