Using Social Media Intentionally
We all know that social media can be toxic and overwhelming but when used intentionally it can be a great place to find like-minded people and content that can support your happiness and well-being. It is up to you to create a better experience for yourself.
Social media is a great place to stay connected with family and friends, showcase your individuality, spread awareness, stay up-to-date with world news, collaborate and share ideas, learn new skills, and even start your own business.
We are constantly hearing of the detrimental effects of social media on our wellbeing. Mindlessly scrolling through social media has resulted in social comparison, bullying, feelings of inadequacy, and isolation. While this may be true, through intention and mindfulness it is possible to create and experience a more positive side of social media.
What is intention? Intention is defined as “an aim or plan that guides action.” Intentions help you set clear expectations and guide the tone of your interaction. They help you determine how you spend your time and what you get out of this time invested.
“Don’t compare your behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight reel” – Steve Furtick
Here are some steps that you can implement into your life to use social media more intentionally:
Be Mindful: Be mindful when scrolling through your feed. Curate your feed to show content that makes you feel good. Try to focus on feelings that are more productive and beneficial to you. Be mindful of the content that makes you feel jealous, sad, or unworthy, and if you’re not able to refrain from these thoughts, choose to unfollow the account. This creates a safer, less triggering social media feed. Choose to follow people that inspire you, motivate you, spread kindness, and bring a smile to your face; this will help you maintain a positive headspace.
Interact with Kindness: Make it a habit to leave kind, positive, and uplifting comments for content that you enjoy. While it is very easy to fall into a rabbit hole of negativity, be mindful of who you are interacting with and remember that even though the interaction is taking place through a screen you are really just communicating with another human being. Use your social platforms to sprinkle a little kindness wherever you scroll, support content that you enjoy, spread awareness, share your individuality, contribute when you can, and lend a helping hand to someone in need.
Monitor Your Usage: Limiting your social media usage can be difficult, especially since our brains crave the dopamine and serotonin rush we get from looking at the likes and comments we have received. Limit usage as you feel necessary – to get started, monitor the total amount of time you spend in a day on all your social media accounts. You can then go ahead and set time limits for yourself. For example, you can give yourself a total of 60 minutes per day and limit yourself to 10 mins each time you log on. Becoming aware of the time we spend on social media can in turn help us reduce the hours we spend on mindless scrolling and make it a more positive experience.
Reduce Notifications: On the same note, turning off notifications are a great way to control social media usage and stay in the present moment. Notifications are created to lure us on to apps and websites that we wouldn’t necessarily go on to in that moment. Notifications are simply a distraction and not really required.
In the end, it really depends on us how we choose to use social media. As for everything, moderation is key. Building an intentional and mindful plan for using social media can help alleviate the adverse effect from social media, while creating a more positive, feel-good experience for you.