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12 Ways to Stay Mindful on Social Media

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

While social media is demonised by many sectors, there is no doubt that it has its benefits. Users can interact with people from all over the world, they can share their life stories with their friends and families, and they can read about every conceivable topic imaginable.

Let’s face it. Where else can you discover recipes for those extra apples you’ve bought, admire your friend’s new outfit and laugh at cats! One swipe after the other.

However, there is always a downside to everything. The key to enjoying anything is moderation, but that can be tricky if you find yourself checking in to see what’s happening on Facebook, for example, only to find hours later you are now downloading the instructions to knit a giant spider, something you never realised you needed never mind wanted.

So, what can you do to limit your time on social media and get the best out of it at the same time? We are going to look at employing some mindful techniques to help you stay focused and waste less time while you are on social media. But before we start let’s take a look at what mindfulness really is.

Ways to Stay Mindful on Social Media
Ways to Stay Mindful on Social Media

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness simply is about being present in the moment. However, it is a little bit more involved than that. When we are being present, we are paying close attention to what is going on around us and what is going on within us.

Mindful walking, for example, involves going for a walk and taking note of what you see, hear and smell. It also involves noting how your body is moving and subsequently, how it is feeling. Are your legs heavy? Do you find your arms swinging? When we practice mindful walking, we are being present in the environment in which we are walking, and being aware of what our bodies are feeling.

Importantly, while being mindful encourages identifying feelings and emotions, it does not require us to judge them. The way we feel is neither good nor bad, it just is. We let go of trying to control ourselves and open up to simply being. This helps put distance between our minds and what is going on instead of trying to react emotionally to every small thing.

So how can we use mindfulness when we are on social media? Let’s take a look.

12 Ways to Stay Mindful on Social Media

1. Make a List

Before you start, before you pick up your phone, make a list of what you want to achieve. Do you need to check in with a sick friend or find out how your neighbour’s overseas holiday is going? Creating a list is a useful way to ensure you stay motivated and on track.

2. Set a Timer

Set a timer on your phone to go off in 15 or 20 minutes. This can just be a series of short beeps that are just enough to jolt your concentration away from mindless scrolling. When you hear the timer, go back to your list. If you were taken off track, go back to where you were up to and continue.

Stay Mindful on Social Media
Stay Mindful on Social Media

3. Breathe

This might sound silly because you are breathing all the time, but remind yourself to stop, close your eyes and take three deep breaths every ten minutes. You can set another timer for this if you need to, but if you continue to do it, you’ll find that it will become a habit.

Taking deep breaths helps us to break that ‘zombie’ mode of scrolling and fills our body and brain with much needed oxygen, releases toxins and creates a greater sense of calm.

Think about your body, what are your feet and hands doing. How are they feeling? Have you begun to slouch? Make sure you are not crouching or slumping your shoulders and back. Check to see if you can feel any pain, breathe, and let it go. Recheck your to do list or even better, stand up (see next step).

5. Shake it Off!

Every 20 minutes, stand up and shake your arms and your legs. Move around and get the blood circulating. Sitting still can cause all kinds of diseases and can actually shorten your lifespan.

6. Check Your To Do List

Backtrack to ensure you are still ticking off your to do list. Have you achieved all you wanted to do? If so, think about putting your phone down and doing something else.

7. Check What Are You Saying?

Are your comments or posts kind, helpful and genuinely useful to others? If not, what good are they? Is it really worth upsetting someone because you disagree with the way they vote or what they feed their dog? Are your posts or comments helpful?

When we share negative comments and posts, we are actually treating ourselves unkindly. We are fostering feelings of anger, hate, jealousy and cynicism. These only contribute to our unhappiness and mental ill health and could lead to more physical, emotional and mental health issues in the future.

Don’t forget - Breathe Deep

8. Think About Other Things

Close your eyes, relax your shoulders, drop your arms, and think about what else is going on in your home and life. Does the laundry need to come in or does the dog need a walk? Weren’t you going to check if the kids’ lunches were made?

When we break our concentration away from social media, we suddenly find there are many things we could and should be doing. Things that are useful and contribute to our own sense of wellbeing.

9. Oh No! A Rabbit Hole!

Have you fallen down a rabbit hole!? Are you struggling to move your eyes away from the screen? Even if it is not time for your timer to go off, get up and move about and repeat the steps above.

10. Drink Water

Take a sip of water every few minutes to keep you hydrated. Water fills our bodies and, in particular, our brains with much needed fluids. These will help keep your thinking straight and your moods positive.

11. Reflect

What are you doing? Is it constructive or are you wasting time following cute pics of kittens? At some point, make a list of the things which distract you and keep you from doing other, important things. Avoid the posts that really waste time and that you find yourself being lost on.

12. Get Uncomfortable

Don’t get too comfortable. If you are snuggled up in your favourite spot, you’ll spend too long on social media. Instead, make it a rule to check your social media accounts when you are standing up or sit on the edge of a seat.

When your body tells you that it is not comfortable, then get up and move about. Put your phone down and go outside to see what the weather is doing or make a cup of tea – enjoy the day away from your phone.

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