What Mindfulness Looks Like In The Age of Social Media
Mindfulness is focusing on the present moment and being fully engaged in what’s going on in the now instead of being distracted or somewhere else based on what may be going on in your mind.
It’s being able to recognize and pull your mind’s focus back into the present moment when it begins to wander off, like it so often likes to do. Mindfulness is still a work in progress for me (and likely will always be), but I think just being aware of mindfulness and its power is a great start. Over time and with consistent practice, mindfulness is something that I hope will become second nature.
A challenge I have found with mindfulness, though, is that social media makes it a really hard concept. As someone who has an online business and constantly needs to be "on" social media-wise, I sometimes struggle with this.
But this is the age we live in, right? So how do we it work? Here are some ways I came up with to be more mindful in the social media age:
1. Don't use social media every day.
Instead of having to show your everyday life every single day on Instagram stories or Snapchat, why not give people a glimpse once a week? Designate a day to share videos instead of it being an everyday thing. Because if you are sharing nearly every moment of every day, how are you ever truly living in the moment and being mindful?
2. Don't engage with social media first thing.
When waking up, while it may feel natural to reach for your phone first, don’t let it be the first thing you do. The emails, social media updates, and posts can wait. Start the first hour or two of your day with healthier habits like enjoying some tea, meditating, and/or journaling. Give yourself time to connect with yourself before connecting to social media.
3. Go to bed with a book in hand instead of your phone.
This has been a big one for me. Going to bed with a book has allowed me time for myself, to check in and just be in the moment. It’s also helped with how quickly I can fall asleep once I put the book down.
4. Don't bring your phone with you when you have special plans.
Maybe those plans are a long-overdue lunch with your friends, a planned date with your partner, or dinner with family. Yes, it’s nice to capture what you ate and share it, but isn’t having real connection with your food and the people you are surrounded with more important?
5. Disconnect every week.
One to two times per week, usually on the weekends but sometimes on random days, I try to not post on social media. I used to think I had to post every single day. And when I was in Hawaii for my yoga teacher training, I realized I didn’t "need" to. I think I went as long as a whole week, and it felt really good. It made me realize my community would still be there, and it was freeing to not feel like I "had" to post every day.
Just try it and see how it feels. Now if If I don’t post for a day or two, I don’t fret or even think about it. There’s always the next day. Social media isn’t going anywhere, at least anytime soon.
6. Set aside specific time for social media.
Maybe it’s an hour a day or just a few minutes, but whatever it is, it has to work for you. Allocating time to use it frees up the rest of your day to bring in more mindfulness and less distraction. There have been days when it felt like I was on my phone all day, and having a scheduled time to use it for social media sets clear boundaries.
The truth is, we live in a social media age, but many are waking up to the idea of mindfulness. So how do we work with them both? It may look different for everyone, but I think it starts with being aware of your usage around social media and noticing how you feel when you choose to be in the moment and not pull your phone out to share it with the social media world. We can get lost in social media, confusing it with the real world.
But nothing compares to the real world: being in the moment, making real connections, experiencing events as they are happening. Yes, social media is great for capturing and highlighting these moments, but it doesn’t replace them. Too often social media takes us away from fully feeling and being mindful of these moments. And life is too short to not be in the moment. So embrace mindfulness with less social media, and know that in a social media world, there’s something priceless about not sharing every moment.