Tuesday, May 9, 2017

How To: Use Social Media Mindfully



Mindfulness has been so trendy lately and for a good reason. It helps focus your life by helping you decide what is truly important and how you want to spend your time. With that being said, social media might seem like the antithesis of mindfulness because it takes you out of the present moment. Here are a few tips to help you use social media mindfully. 


Youtube
I've all but stopped using youtube lately. I don't watch any of the channels I used to be subscribed to, and only use it for watching TedTalks and interviews. I'm not saying you need to do the same, but just becoming aware of the channels you watch and the role they play in your life can lead you to make some changes. For example, I stopped watching channels where I would experience envy, FOMO, or any sort of negative emotion because that is not conducive to the life I want to live. By taking a few minutes to evaluate what you watch and weed out the content that brings out negative thoughts, emotions, or actions from you, you'll be so much closer to living a mindful life. 

Instagram
Same thing applies here. Unfollow anyone who's images bring up bad feelings. This could mean unfollowing models or people who live a lifestyle that you can't help but be jealous of. Or maybe it's your ex or an old friend that you no longer have in your physical life, but keep in your online life out of habit. A while ago I did a huge Instagram purge and unfollowed over 75 people and it has made instagram a much more enjoyable experience.  




Twitter
Twitter is probably the social media that is the biggest time suck for me. I will get caught up in scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling and before I know it, 30 minutes have passed and I've learned nothing. I took a rather extreme approach to Twitter and created a brand new account. Under this account I only follow news sites or important individuals (usually politicians or people within the scientific community). It's way less fun this way, but it keeps me from scrolling mindlessly and serves as a way for me to stay up to date on news around the world, locally, and within my field. If you're unwilling to completely start over (and I don't blame you), follow the same advice as above and unfollow anyone that decreases the quality of your life. I'd also suggest following news sites or intellects because then at least you'll learn something whilst scrolling. 

Facebook
I always toy back and forth with the idea of deleting my facebook because it is by far the least used social media for me. Same rules as above for facebook in terms of who you're friends with, but I want to mention one more thing specific to this app. Facebook is notorious for false news. Make sure you're only following reputable pages and that you're reading truthful content because otherwise you're wasting time and energy thinking about things that don't exist. 

At the end of the day, mindful use of social media really means taking the time to evaluate what your using, why your using it, and what value it brings to your life. Let me know in the comments what your tips are for using social media mindfully. 
-Sienna


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