09 Sep 5 Useful Practices for Mindful Social Media Use
2018 marks the very first Scroll Free September campaign which encourages participants to take a digital detox or hiatus from all personal social media accounts during the 30-day calendar month. In light of increasing research around how social media overuse can impact our well-being and especially that of our children, the campaign aims to promote better balance with our social media feeds, or rather, the amount of time we spend scrolling through them. If you’re fed up of being caught in a constant cycle of scrolling, we encourage you to adopt these practices for mindful social media use and challenge you to sustain them long after Scroll Free September is over.
1. Allow Yourself To Be Bored
We often get trapped in the social media scroll-cycle when we’re bored, waiting for something, or even trying to deflect awkwardness. If grabbing your phone in these situations is the first thing you do, practice being present instead. Take in your surroundings, people watch and put your phone away. Breaking the link between free moments and unconscious social scrolling will make you mindful about just how much you rely on your phone in everyday situations.
2. Use Social Media with Intention
That’s obvious, right? As we mentioned above, a lot of our social media scrolling and feed checking is a subconscious action. So, try to make yourself aware when you are reaching for your phone to check social media and you’re not reacting to a notification. Ask yourself, what are my intentions? What do I want to find out? Unless you have a clear answer to these questions, avoid opening your social apps.
3. Set Scroll Free Special Occasions
While most of us enjoy a good selfie at a party or when celebrating something special, try to keep your phone in your bag or pocket when with company. Give your friends or loved ones your full attention and it will feel more intentional when you do reach for your phone. Struggling to keep your phone away? You could even try phone-stacking. This mindful practice includes you and all of your friends putting your phones in the middle of the table and agreeing that the person who picks up theirs first has to get the next round. We’d say it will keep not scrolling at the forefront of your mind!
4. Be Non-Judgemental To Yourself and Others
Social media has created a comparison culture. In fact, according to a survey by disability charity Scope, half of 18 to 34 year olds say that social media makes them feel inadequate. Cultivating mindful social media use is about recognising when scrolling is making you feel negatively about yourself. But it’s not only this, it’s about trying to actively be non-judgemental to others posting online. After all, the only person who will feel negative about these negative thoughts towards others is yourself.
5. Clean Up and Curate Your Feed
Make your feeds less distracting by filtering out clickbait accounts you may follow and old acquaintances who overshare. Curate your feed into people you care about and accounts that inspire you. This will ensure that time you do spend on social media is more rewarding, rather than a continuous search for that interesting or meaningful update.
Try these mindful social media practices to make the most out of your feeds, whether that’s by finding inspiration or staying connected with friends. Let’s put a stop to mindless scrolling and wasted time online!