Mindfulness meditation is the tool to understand that the stories populating your memory are not the totality of your existence. Understand that experiences and situations are beyond your control, and you can escape the assumption that emotional reactions represent your faults as a human. The intention of mindfulness meditation is to understand that emotions are present, but not threatening. Mindfulness is acknowledging your moment-to-moment existence but being neither for nor against the experience.
Practice mindfulness as a strategy for accepting and coping with difficult emotions. Learn to be comfortable with discomfort and maintain a sense of ease through all life’s circumstances.
Social Media and Mindfulness
Excessive use of social media is a great exercise in mindfulness. Social media isn’t bad, but anecdotally it does contribute to emotional disorders such as jealousy, depression, anxiety and loneliness. Social media can be a time-wasting distraction, a social crutch that gets in the way of valuable face-to-face interaction and an unhealthy quest for validation of self.
All three of these descriptions – distraction, social crutch and false validation – are the opposite of mindfulness. Social media reinforces the idea that you don’t already have everything you need. It’s like social advertising – convincing you that you aren’t happy enough and you haven’t achieved enough. Furthermore, social media gives you the instant high of a perceived social connection but there’s little emotional return on a digital connection. Practicing mindfulness – the focused awareness of who you are right now – is an antidote to the venom that social media can inject into your mind.
Strategies for Managing Social Media
If social media prompts anxiety, depression, loneliness or jealousy and impedes mindful living, try the following:
- Set an intention every time you open a social media account. Do you need to look something up or send a message? If you don’t have a specific intention, reconsider whether you should open the app.
- Squash negative self-talk or comparison when you’re scrolling. Shift your attention to celebration and love for someone else.
- Focus on the possibility for connection. Sending messages, sharing photos and keeping in touch are all terrific applications of social media!
- Be specific in what you share. Only post photos and comments that reflect who you truly are. Don’t post just to validate yourself or to get approval in the form of likes.
Is it true, present and immediate?
Practice mindfulness to remind yourself that your worth is based on how you feel about yourself. No amount of external validation can augment your perception of self. No amount of social strife can take away your love for yourself. Social media is problematic because it prompts you to question your self-worth and has the potential to reinforce your perceived shortcomings. Do the opposite: practice mindfulness and focus on what is true, present and immediate.