Mindfulness tells us there is insight to be found in anything when we approach it mindfully, consciously, and with purpose. And so it is for our interactions on social media.
Whether you see your social media habit as a bit of an addiction or just a light means of escape, there is no doubt that it can have a negative impact on life.
Many of us are exposed to the effects of social media from the moment we wake up in the morning until last thing at night, subjecting our subconscious to a barrage of messages that can invite feelings of inadequacy, self-criticism, guilt and failure. (As if mums don’t feel all these things enough as it is!)
Aside of the effect it can have on our emotions, it is also all too easy for a quick five minute scroll to turn into a half an hour or more, numerous times a day, sucking up your precious free time into the social media black hole, with little to show for it at the end.
And on occasion, you could regret making a comment or posting a status because you were tired or just not concentrating properly. A virtual foot-in-mouth scenario. (Been there, done that!)
Being mindful about how, and when, and how often we use social media can help you break the habit, enabling you to interact more consciously and with purpose, to make it a more positive experience. It is just one of the many ways that mindfulness can have a profound and positive impact on your life.
So how can we be more mindful when using social media? Here are five tips to get you started:
- Stay off social media for the first two hours of each day. Beyond getting yourself and your kids ready in the morning, any extra time should be reserved for the things that will set you up for the best possible day. So things like exercise, meditation, gratitudes, stretches, journaling, and a nutritious breakfast should be top of the list of how to spend your time.
- Schedule your social media breaks. Do not allow yourself to scroll through social media mindlessly at unscheduled times because you are bored or lonely. Turn off notifications so you are not tempted to keep checking in. And give yourself a time-limit. If needs be, set an alarm on your phone.
- Clear your head of all other thoughts when taking your social media break, and give your full attention to it. Sit up straight. Check in with how you feel before you begin. Think about how you are feeling emotionally and physically.
- Really focus on what you are doing. Do not try to watch TV, have conversations, listen to music or eat lunch while taking a social media break, and don’t do it just before going to sleep. Give each update your full attention. Really read the quotes, updates and captions carefully. What is it saying to you? Who is saying it? What do you like about it? What do you not like about it? How does it make you feel emotionally and physically? Does it make you want to take action? Think carefully about anything you are planning to post, and take your time. Whenever you post, share, like or comment do so thoughtfully, intentionally, mindfully.
- When you have finished, think about who you enjoyed, and who left you with negative feelings. Perhaps there is some inspiration lacking in your newsfeed? Process your emotional and physical feeling carefully in response to what you have just seen and read. Add or remove pages accordingly. Spring clean regularly, by freshening up and decluttering your news feed according to your current likes, needs and interests.
If you want to learn more about how mindfulness can benefit other areas of your life, and discover simple mindfulness techniques that even the busiest mum can use, check out the Mindfulness For Mums 14-Day Challenge.