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“We don’t have a choice in whether we use social media, the question is how well we choose to use it”

Social media is a powerful force, but it appears to be a double-edged sword. While it can bring people together from different corners of the world, it can also isolate us from those who matter the most.

While the covid-19 pandemic has led us to be more dependent on the use of social media, it has also led to increased anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and an unhealthy dependency on its users.

Having a positive and mindful social media experience is possible, it is all about fostering a sense of awareness and drawing boundaries where necessary.

Following are some of the tips on how to mindfully consume social media:

1. Define what you want from your social media experience

Make it a point to explore what you really what from social media? Do you want to connect with friends, distant relatives? Or do you want to keep up with latest trends, pop culture, celebrities? We often choose to follow those who follow us, or friend us, when we really might not be interested in what they have to offer. Try to mindfully consider what exactly is it that you need from these platforms. You need to curate your social media environment according to your needs.

2. Clean up your feeds

Take time to clean up feeds and friend lists and search for the things you really care about.

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it is absolutely okay to declutter your friends’ list. Say goodbye to anyone who isn’t adding value to your life. Consciously follow only those people who bring joy into your life and get rid of those who bring negativity. Scrolling through your feed should fuel you up, not drain you.

3. Engage with posts and people

Scrolling through one’s feed is often never-ending. If you have curated your feed, each post will mean something to you. Try to focus on a single post at a time and take it all in. Read the words and look carefully at what the picture is trying to tell you. We often scroll through numerous posts without actually paying attention to them. Paying attention to each post will make you reconsider their value. If you are using social media to stay in touch with people, do exactly that! Drop them a message instead of viewing their stories and posts. Actively engage with the people who matter.

4. Cultivate a detached response to criticism and comments

If you are on social media, you are going to get criticized or come across a comment that might infuriate you. When you receive a negative comment from someone, take a second to reflect on it before responding. Is it true? Will it be helpful to respond to it? When you come across a heated argument on social media, ask yourself, will it be constructive to respond to it? Am I going to learn anything by getting into this argument? Chances are – your answer is no. Detach from your impulses and be honest to yourself. Keep your power and maintain your peace by turning the other cheek to critics.

5. Don’t slow down to look at the car accident

Looking at disturbing posts is surely compelling. It’s understandable that one wants to know what is going on. But you don’t need to see it. You don’t need to see images that will haunt you at night and create a cycle of guilt and sadness. You can keep up with the news without having to view such posts. It is okay to block certain people who share horrifying things, even if their intentions are true. You can also mute them if needed or skip their posts. You need to take care of your own mental health first.