For me I have noticed it to be helpful in seeking out information and community, but misuse of social media has been linked with with higher levels of anxiety and depression. So what are ways that we can best use social media? I got curious and did some research on how to minimize the stress of using social media for day #29 on 30 Days of Stress Management.
Through observing my own experience, attending mindfulness conferences on social media, and some research I did on pubmed and online, it seems like practicing mindfulness with boundaries is key for using social media and minimizing its negative impact. One research study even demonstrated how people who practiced mindfulness at work felt better after using social media, while people with a low level of mindfulness experienced more stress.
Maybe using social media is like eating food. Certain mixes of flavors can be highly palatable and hard to stop eating; using mindfulness can help one understand how they are feeling, thinking, and being before, during, and after eating. Practicing mindfulness can offer more information on how to make a better decision to continue eating the food or not. With mindfulness eating, perfection is not the goal but the practice of mindfulness can hopefully help someone make better decisions with the information they gathered from their practice. It seems like mindfully using social media may be similar too, so here are some tips I gathered.
Mindfully Using Social Media Tips
Create a boundary for the time and place you will use social media.
Set an intention on how you want to use social media.
Continually sense - meaning your point of focus could be your breath, emotions, or thoughts - on how you are doing before, during, and after using social media.
If you find yourself not benefiting from using social media, feel free to stop and take a break before your set time is up. There are apps that you can create time limits for using social media or you can simply turn off your phone or computer. Then quickly move from the area, so you are not tempted to use it again.
Seek additional help, if you find yourself not able to stop using social media and it is negatively impacting your life.
Below are some links for resources that can help you better use social media for your wellbeing
Using social media can have benefits for your mental health, but only if you use it in the right way, by Dr Peggy Kern, University of Melbourne
We're all self-critical—but for teens, self-consciousness is hardwired. Here's how to become aware of the emotions we're courting on social media
Ethan Nichtern offers suggestions for how we can go online without losing our minds.
If you would like more help, I offer private sessions in San Francisco and online. For a free consultation, please email me. In May, I plan to offer an integrative group programming (movement, meditation, and holistic nutrition). Click here for more information.
Charoensukmongkol, P. (2016). Mindful Facebooking: The moderating role of mindfulness on the relationship between social media use intensity at work and burnout. J Health Psychol. Sep;21(9):1966-80. doi: 10.1177/1359105315569096. Epub 2015 Feb 13.
Sriwilai, K. Charoensukmongkol, P. (2016). Face it, don't Facebook it: Impacts of Social Media Addiction on Mindfulness, Coping Strategies and the Consequence on Emotional Exhaustion. Stress Health. Oct;32(4):427-434. doi: 10.1002/smi.2637. Epub 2015 Mar 30.