Updated: Oct 19, 2018
“Pick your battles,” my Nana used to always say. Never quite knowing the depth of her words at the time, I only took it as a scapegoat phrase used to get me to stop arguing. Looking back, most of my arguments were justifiable and I simply wanted to stand up for myself and find my voice as I matured, but those around me were not taught how to hold space and listen without judgment. I could not get what I needed if those around me did not know how to provide it.
I find at this time we are going through the same thing on social media and the cycle continues. We are all going through growing pains. We are each reverting back to our childhood in some way and are having to deal with our inner child wounds of not being compassionately heard. We end up acting like children in a virtual world trying to get someone to hear our voice, hear our message, hear our prayer by making one post. Sure, it could be sent out to thousands, even millions of people, but aren’t we missing something? I think of my Nana’s words.
And then, comes the judgment. Not from everyone around us, that’s what we signed up for—to post and be liked. Haters gonna hate, trolls gonna troll. The judgment comes from within. We wonder what others will think of us as we furiously type, erase, re-write that post and find the perfect picture to make it look like we are upholding to society’s timeline of where we should be in our lives and how that should look. As we scroll to see where others are or how their lives appear, we grow jealous, disheartened, and even may fall into depression as we play the comparison game. We see all the luscious green grass over on the other side of the screen and we forget to step away to water our own. We want to be seen. We want to be heard.
Is our emotional intelligence suffering? Is our inner child suffering? Is it worth being here when emotions can trigger the stress hormone and too much cortisol leads to illness? Perhaps we have created a battlefield instead of a face-space of insta-connectedness.
So, I began practicing being in the present and observing my emotions while scrolling through posts. I noticed my own anger and anxiety has catapulted while skimming political or personal posts that did not resonate with me or that made me want to fight in some way I didn’t feel I had to previously. I decided it was time to figure out how to make social media a more mindful place to be.
3 Steps to be Mindful on Social Media
A lot of times while reading things that trigger us in some way our breath begins to shorten as the emotion we are feeling takes over. Instead of reacting to the post and succumbing to our momentary emotions, take more time to focus on breathing while you are scrolling through. The more we focus on those deeper inhales and longer exhales, the more we might notice that those posts don’t mean anything to us or how we can see things in a different light with more oxygen coming to the brain.
2. Take a break.
Before we get anxious, angry, or upset, sometimes the best thing to do is take a break from social media, especially if something is making us feel anything less than worthy. Some of us try this for a day, a week, or even a month depending on what your schedule allows. If you only take one break per day, do it at least two hours before bed. Shut everything down and focus on reading, meditation, and other bedtime rituals. Once you start cultivating time for mindfulness, your mind will begin to release things that attempt to create clutter.
3. Your vibe attracts your tribe.
This one speaks to us in two ways. First off, there are plenty of ways to unfollow negative posts and follow the positivity. Want to see more positive vibes when you open your social media app? Make sure to follow the high vibe page you really love so you see their posts. Like the things your friends say that make you feel happy and you will see more of their posts.
Secondly, it’s all about your vibe. What are you putting out there on social media? Are you posting crap and complaining without actually doing anything? Time to sage your page and re-start. Positivity is attracted to positivity.
It’s not just you…
Remember this quote the next time you are feeling low and try the steps above:
“We live in a very fearful and tribalistic society, we run on emotion, which is the currency of social media. It’s emotive first.”
We become addicted to social media because it makes us feel good most of the time when we see how many likes we are getting, but remember, there are negative emotions as well. Be mindful today to notice what those are for you and when they are happening. It’s different for everyone, but it’s happening to everyone. Healing starts with you.