Building a Mindful Relationship with Social Media

By Karin Amador, LPC Associate
Supervised by Jennifer Buffalo, LPC-S, LMFT

Social media platforms are vehicles that we all use to connect with others, share our interests and life events, and readily access information. While there are numerous benefits to engaging with social media, excessive social media use has been associated with negative mental health outcomes such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and poor sleep.

Doom scrolling is a term that you may have heard of, referring to the act of endlessly scrolling through negative news or social media feeds, often concerning distressing or alarming events. Doom scrolling can cause feelings like fear and hopelessness to arise, as well as symptoms of anxiety, leading to a negative impact on our overall well-being.

Tools like mindfulness can help increase our awareness of our social media use and build a healthy relationship with our social media platforms. Mindfulness means being in the present moment without judging ourselves. I invite you to use mindfulness as you explore your social media use and nurture your relationship with social media so that it fits into your life the way you want it to.

Some questions you might ask yourself are:

  • How do I feel after viewing my social media feed?
  • What do I like about my social media feed?
  • How much time would I like to spend on social media to ensure I have enough time for other parts of my life?

If you feel that some of the answers to these questions don’t represent what you want your social media usage to look like, you are not alone. The reality is that social media apps are designed to engage and overstimulate us with an overload of information and visual stimuli. Also, our social media apps do not encourage us to set limits or tailor our experience to our needs (unless we comb our settings page and change our online preferences).

Here are a few ways to build a more mindful relationship with social media by establishing personal boundaries with social media:

  • Clean out your social media feed: Follow accounts that interest, engage, and inform you. Unfollow or mute accounts that no longer interest you or support your mental health. Manage notifications and screen time: Adjust notifications on your phone or social media platform settings to allow uninterrupted downtime from social media.
  • Customize your screen time on your phone to receive notifications when you have reached your desired social media limits. Think about a specific day or time in your week that you enjoy using social media the most. How can you build in some time to use social media at your preferred time versus at times when attention is divided, like mealtimes, bedtime, or when making real-life connections?
  • Consider the perspectives that you hold about the content you view on social media. Social media shows the “highlight reel” of people’s lives and is not a true representation of what your life needs to look like. How has social media influenced your perspective on your life?

By being intentional with our social media use, we can learn more about how social media impacts our mental health and use creative strategies to allow social media to enhance life and not take away from it.

Are you interested in building a relationship with social media that supports your mental health? We are here to help. Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our clinicians today.

References
“Doomscroll.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/doomscroll.

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