It’s no secret that we are all addicted to social media. Not convinced that you are? Take our quiz and you will probably be shocked to see how much time you spend on it.
Whether we are eating, shopping, catching up with friends or watching a film, the chances are, we will be on our phones at the same time. We have become expert multi-taskers. But here’s the thing: our brains were not built to do lots of tasks at once. We work best when we do one thing at a time, which is now impossible with social media constantly nagging us for attention. The result? We are far less mindful.
Being mindful is all about living in the moment, but how do we do that if we are always on social media? Can we truly appreciate memories when we are so worried about how to share them on our profiles? Could we be ignoring little things, like a beautiful sunset or someone smiling at us because our heads are buried in our phones?
The answer? Probably!
But, we don’t have to be. We can still use social media and be mindful, it just takes a few little habit changes to be able to do so.
Here’s 10 to get you started:
1. Set a time limit
Firstly, and this is probably the hardest of all, we have to take some time out. Far easier said than done when you’re addicted! But, if our heads are always buried in our phones mindfulness is much more difficult to achieve. Simply avoiding social media before bed, during meal times or when you’re spending time with your friends will make you more present.
2. Know your intentions
Okay, so you probably have social media because everyone else does, right? But it might be worth spending some time considering some other reasons why you are using it. Whether you want to connect with other people, find inspiration for a new hobby or share your favourite moments you will be more mindful whilst on social media if you are aware of your intentions.
3. Check in with how you feel
Ever heard the phrase ‘mindless scrolling’? It’s essentially when you keep scrolling through your newsfeed without even really thinking. A pretty common habit when you’re addicted to social media. The danger here is that negative thoughts may creep in without you even realising. Does your mood lower when you see people out partying whilst you are sat indoors? Are you insecure when you see other people’s selfies? Have you been left feeling like your life isn’t as good as people that you follow? It’s okay to feel all of these things, but make sure you’re aware so you can take necessary action.
4. Quality of feed
This leads to the next step; have a clear out of your newsfeed. If you notice that any of the feelings above have applied to you, there are things you can do to prevent them. Realistically, you won’t be able to eliminate every single negative thought that social media causes. But, if you notice that certain people, organisations or categories are making you feel unsettled then unfollow them. It’s your newsfeed, it’s okay to take control of it!
5. Follow mindful messages
So, that’s negativity removed, now let’s add some positivity. Social media gets a bit of a bad rep when it comes to our mindset, but in reality, it can offer lots of ways to help us be more mindful too. There are plenty of pages packed with inspirational quotes, posts with people sharing their relatable experiences and creative ideas to learn from. Just by making sure these things are regularly appearing in your newsfeed will prompt you to be more mindful.
6. Limit ‘in the moment’ posts
With just about every social media platform having a ‘story’ option, constant posting of all the things you’re doing has become the complete norm. The trouble with this is that sharing takes you out of the moment. Chances are you spend time trying to capture, edit and post what you’re doing. Then, it’s time to obsess over who has watched it. This is okay on the odd occasion, but when you are sharing everything you are doing being mindful becomes really difficult. Set the odd story, but don’t feel the need to share everything.
7. Keep moments uncaptured
Beyond stories, trying not to share everything is something that can be applied to your entire social media use. It’s great that we can use social media to connect with each other, but it’s also okay to keep moments to ourselves too. It’s perfectly fine to have some occasions that are just for you to enjoy, without the added pressure of sharing them with others.
8. Try not to be judgemental
Social media makes it easy to make comparisons to other people’s lives. Whilst it’s completely normal to have thoughts about a person based on what they have posted, try not to be too judgemental about it. When we are finding it difficult to be mindful towards our own lives, often we turn to judging others… something that is made a whole lot easier to do with social media. Attempting to be less judgemental of others will make us kinder to ourselves too.
9. Don’t obsess over likes
And the same goes for judging ourselves as well. You are not defined by the number of likes you get. Your selfie is beautiful, your sunsets snap is outstanding and your food pic looks delicious, regardless of how many people click the little heart button. To be mindful we have to be aware of what we think of ourselves, not just the opinions that others hold. Try to avoid letting the number of likes you have received define your self-worth.
10. Remember it is not the full story
Above all else, social media is not real life. As much as we can attempt mindfulness whilst spending time on it, the most important thing to be mindful of is that you are only seeing half a story posted.
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