Think about the moments when you log onto social media the most. You might check social media first thing in the morning, before going to sleep, during class or work, during time with friends, or while riding in the car.
Gently and without judgment, ask yourself what your intentions are when you log on. Are you looking to connect with others, responding to a notification, seeking validation or appreciation, feeling afraid of missing out, or hoping to distract yourself from a situation happening around you?
Once you’ve identified your intentions, focus on the body sensations and feelings you experience before logging on to social media. You might feel your heart beating faster, your palms sweaty, or a rush in your body. You might feel anxious, excited, happy, entertained, bored, angry, disgusted, sad, or depressed.
Do the same thing while you are logged on to social media, noticing your body sensations and feelings without making any judgment. Take a moment to consider the most common sensations and feelings you associate with social media.
Before you post something, take a deep breath, notice your intentions, sensations, and emotions. Ask yourself if you are sure about the post. Now think about how you feel after you’ve posted something on social media. Do you feel your heart beating faster or slower? Do you feel anxious? Excited? Proud? Nervous? Scared? If you’ve posted something that doesn’t receive enough likes or comments, do you feel regret or remorse?
Now imagine yourself logging off. What are your body sensations? What are your feelings? Did spending time on social media put you in a better or worse mood? Is there anything you would like to change in your social media habits?
Take a few more deep breaths, and slowly open your eyes and come back to the present moment.
Being mindful of your intentions, body sensations, and emotions will help you use social media more effectively. When used responsibly, social media can be a valuable tool for enhancing your life and other people’s lives. But many of us lose sight of our intentions, sensations, and emotions when using social media, instead becoming addicted to the words and images on a screen, taking us away from the present moment.
We hope you find this practice helpful in shutting off your autopilot and bringing more attention and awareness to your social media experience.