How to Use Social Media to Feel Better (Instead of Worse)
Even if it seems incompatible with mindfulness, social media can be such a force for good. Platforms like Facebook or Instagram can be places to learn, connect, share ideas, and get inspired. But as we all know, social media also seems to suck up precious time and leave us feeling anxious or depressed.
Whether social media has a positive or negative effect on your life depends largely on how you approach it. Use these tips to benefit from social media without letting it drag you down.
Unfollow accounts that make you feel bad.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to Marie Kondo your social media. If an account doesn’t spark joy, unfollow it! Social media is full of celebrities living lavish lifestyles and influencers who seem carefree at all times, not to mention your frenemies from high school. But there’s no reason to follow accounts that make you feel bad.
Follow accounts that inspire you.
But social media can also bring inspiration and joy, if you follow accounts that make you feel good. There are probably influencers, yoga teachers, and others on social media whose message resonates with you. Every platform also has accounts that share adorable animals, beautiful landscapes, and inspirational quotes. Find the accounts that do spark joy, and follow those instead.
Use social media to learn.
Social media can also be valuable as a place for learning, getting informed, and confronting new ideas. More accounts than ever exist to provide an insider’s view on politics and advocate for the environment, for example. Others deconstruct social privilege or amplify voices that are often ignored. Accounts like these exemplify how social media can be used to spread important messages and create positive change. Following them can help you learn, grow, gain new perspectives, and clarify your beliefs.
Connect with friends on social media.
Another way social media is incredibly valuable is by helping us stay in touch with friends and family. By using it more to connect with people in your life and less to follow celebrities, social media can help you focus on what’s important.
Set limits on your social media use.
No matter who you follow, though, social media can be detrimental when not used mindfully. It’s all too easy to lose hours (and sleep!) scrolling through Facebook, watching Instagram Stories, or pinning overwater bungalows.
So put some limits in place. That might mean committing not to log onto any platforms until after lunch. Or maybe it means setting a timer for 15 minutes and signing off when it dings. It’s also easier to keep it in check if you turn off notifications and uninstall apps from your phone. Perhaps most importantly, try to log off social media and put all your devices away an hour before bed. The blue light emitted by your phone or computer screen will make it harder to get quality sleep, even if you’re just looking at photos of puppies.
Like most things in life, social media isn’t all good or all bad; instead, it’s what you make of it. By using them mindfully, platforms like Twitter or Instagram can actually be a meaningful and beneficial part of your journey.
For more ways to live mindfully, check out our blog post on How to Prioritize Friendships in a Busy World.
About the Author
Jen is a freelance writer, blogger, and yoga teacher who left her office job in Boston to travel the world with her husband. She previously worked in international development and academic research, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda. Some of her biggest passions include promoting responsible and mindful travel and helping her students develop their personal yoga practice.