How to Use Social Media Mindfully

How to Use Social Media Mindfully

For better or worse, social media has become an integral part of most people’s lives. Some people exhibit addiction symptoms such as craving, tolerance, and withdrawal. This is due to the fact that digital technologies and social media are actually addictive.

According to research, every time one of us checks our phone or goes into our social media account, we receive a dose of dopamine in the brain’s reward pathways, the nucleus accumbens. This is the same region of the brain that is stimulated when people gamble or use drugs.

When used carelessly, social media can make people feel less connected and may affect their understanding of nonverbal signs and, as a result, their face-to-face communication abilities.

This gap is a primary cause of addiction (forming a vicious circle) that leads to cyberbullying, which is explained in part by the lack of nonverbal indicators online that may otherwise curb antisocial behavior.

Unconscious social media use can also result in social comparison, which can lead to low self-esteem and even despair.

See also How to Use Digital Technology More Mindfully

3 Suggestions To Use Social Media Mindfully

3 Suggestions To Use Social Media Mindfully

Scrolling

Keep an eye out for the black hole that is your social media feed. Set aside a set amount of time to go over it — and stick to it. You should probably set a timer. When the timer goes off, go do something else.

Before you begin scrolling, make a decision. Knowing why you’re using social media might help you stay mindful.

  • Do you want to learn something new?
  • Do you want to look for invitations?
  • What are your pals up to?
  • Or should I just unwind?

Move a few moments every now and again (every 5 minutes, for example) to sit back and take your gaze away from the computer. Check in to see how being on social media affects your body, mind, and emotions. Take a few deep breaths and release any tension in your body.

Posting

One of the most serious issues with digital technology, in general, is that it encourages distraction and reactivity. Take a deep breath and go over what you’ve written before posting. Return to it later if you believe it will cause you trouble. You can also copy and paste the text into a document to refer to later.

Before you post, check in with yourself. What bodily feelings do you notice? What emotions are these linked to? Are you reacting to your feelings? Try to post from a quiet, centring place.

Check in with your values as well. What are you hoping to accomplish with this post? Be as aware of this as possible, because we frequently post reactively, and these posts tend to evoke reactive responses in others.

Commenting on other people’s posts

Similarly, try not to respond to other people’s posts. As you scroll through your feed, pay attention to your posture and sensations in your body. Take note of any emotional reactions.

Before reacting, take a moment to relax and center yourself. Check-in with your response aim.

  • Do you wish to lend a helping hand to someone?
  • Do you want to contribute something?
  • Attack them or demonstrate how “correct” you are (to boost your self-esteem)?
  • What kind of effect does that have when you do it?

Recognize that continuing to engage with drama is a choice if you notice (or create) it. People’s comments can always be ignored, even if they are directed at you. You can always apologize and explain what you meant.

The more conscious you are when using social media, the healthier and more productive it will be in the long term.

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