My daughter and I are taking a trip to Banff National Park. I’m looking forward to making some good memories with her and taking in the beauty of nature on our hikes. She’s looking forward to some great Instagram photos (and associated likes). She even wanted to upgrade her phone to get a better camera. Like it or not, social media is part of our everyday lives.
Last year, I decided to become mindful in my use of social media. As I paid attention, I realized that I used Facebook as a way to avoid feeling bored or to find something to do. As I dug deeper, I noticed that I needed something to do to feel okay. When I went to Facebook to avoid that feeling of emptiness, I often ended up feeling worse. People on Facebook had such great lives by comparison! We now know from many studies that comparing our real lives with what others post on social media can lead to anxiety, stress, and lower self-esteem. This is particularly true for teens who are just developing their sense of self.
Social media sites allow people to carefully curate an image for the world to see which takes away from authentic connection. Mindfulness can help us see the image we are trying to curate and its impact on us and others.
This week’s mindful practice is to notice your relationship with social media.To practice this, as you get on social media, ask yourself “What’s drawing me to this?” See if you can find the answer in your body or a feeling, rather than an answer from your mind. As you decide to post something ask yourself “What do I want this to say about me?” and “What’s the impact I want this to have on others?” or “What do I want from others as I share this?”. As you consume posts by others, stay connected to how they make you feel. Then just label the thoughts and feelings that arise without any judgment. Be gentle with yourself. From this noticing, see if you would like to shift anything in how you consume social media. A practice you may want to try to learn how to label your thoughts is “Grow Self-Awareness”.
Wishing you a mindful week!
P.S. Here’s an instagram-worthy photo of our trip.
P.P.S. One-Minute Mindfulness are short reads that give you a practice a week so you can experience being mindful in the activities you’re already doing. If you’d like to learn and create mindfulness habits with teammates and friends, please share this link to sign up.
P.P.P.S. I would love for you to share your experience or questions from this practice in the comments below.