How to be Mindful When Using Social Media

by Claudia Cole
social media and mental health

It’s no secret that social media has become another essential part of modern life, with more than 45 million users in the UK.

Mindlessly scrolling through our feed has indeed become an irresistible habit, yet many are still unaware of the negative effects it has on our mental health. Understandably so. How can something that is designed to bring us all closer be bad for us?

Social media has been linked to sleeping problems, self-esteem issues and an increase in low mood.  But you see, it’s not so much social media itself that causes these effects but how we use it. Like most things, it should be used in moderation, but that easily forgettable when we’re constantly attached to our phones, unknowingly allowing our attention, time and emotional energy to be consumed. 

Luckily, we can teach ourselves to approach social media mindfully, ensuring we get an enjoyable and healthy use out of it. With that, here are some top tips.

Consider your intentions

It’s good to take the time to question why you’re using social media and what you are trying to get out of it. Ask yourself: Are you looking be validated? To indulge in harmful gossip? Or are you simply sharing something that may have warmed your heart? Either way, it’s worth thinking about whether there’s a more constructive way to have your needs met. 

But the most important thing here to remember is to always ensure your intentions are pure. Not only could your mindless behaviour have a negative impact on yourself, but it could also have an effect on others. 

Clean your Newsfeed

Are any of the pages you follow adding value to your life? How do their posts make you feel? Upset and insecure or uplifted and inspired? If someone’s posts make you feel bad about yourself or displays anything remotely triggering, it may be time to question why you are following them. 

Or, it may be worth visiting your social media’s setting and taking a look at the news feed preferences. It’s a great way to alter your apps in a way that creates a safe space and makes you comfortable. 

Only tune in with a purpose

No one likes boredom. It’s often the very reason most people find themselves scrolling through their news feeds and before you know it, it’s been hours and you’ve somehow found yourself shifting between apps with a stiff wrist. It’s happened to all of us one time or another. 

Making the decision to only tune in with a purpose is a great way to help monitor and minimise your social media use. This could also ensure that your time isn’t taken away from your daily priorities. Yes, boredom is not fun, but neither is being behind on your responsible.

Be present now, post later

There’s nothing wrong with capturing a spectacular picture you want to remember and uploading to social media. It’s a great way to revisit our favourite moments. However, what happens when we’re too busy uploading photos that it overlaps the actual experience? What is there left to revisit apart from taking a cool photo? Sometimes trying to capture the moment takes you out of it, minimising intimacy as you’re suddenly accompanied by your followers. 

Try not to spend too much time watching life through your phone screen and fully immerse yourself in the present. I’m sure one snap, one tweet will do for now. Those spectacular moments don’t go waiting around, so be there for them. 

Find some balance 

A break from social media is needed every now and then. It helps us re-energize and put our feelings into perspective.  Even for those who aren’t addicted, it’s important to be disciplined when it comes to how much time we spent on social media, especially for the sake of our mental health. 

Finding the perfect balance allows us to still engage in the joy of social media, connecting with people all over the world, but it also lets us live our lives in the here and now.

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