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How to Be a More Mindful Social Media User

Woman with blonde hair sits in front of a lake while looking at her phone.

Social media feels pretty inescapable nowadays. It's become inextricable to almost everything we do: work, school, social life, even the news. Although scrolling through funny TikToks can be nice for getting in some daily laughter after a long day, social media can take a toll on our mental well-being in many ways. 

Even with the awareness that a lot of what we see on Instagram is a glamorized version of life, we can get caught in a trap of comparing ourselves and our lives to what we see, which isn't a great thing for our self-esteem, especially daily. 

However, quitting altogether isn't realistic for most people, but there are some ways to become a mindful social media user. 

Set boundaries

You can be a social media user without being online at all hours of the day. Setting clear boundaries of when you will check Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, during the day can help it from taking over your brain. 

Use the unfollow button

It sounds surprising, but you actually have no obligation to follow anyone on social media. Even people you know. If you feel you are constantly comparing yourself to specific people, or are feeling triggered by certain content, consider the mute or unfollow button as an act of self-care. You can curate your feed to what makes you feel good. 

Try JOMO instead of FOMO

The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is when we feel like we could be missing out on something, so we need to be compulsively online and connected. However, this often only makes us feel worse. Seeing photos of people hanging out without you, and scrolling through other people's vacation pics, it all can lead to feelings of anxiety and sadness. 

This need for "belonging" is inherently human, don't get me wrong, but in a world where we are constantly bombarded with the ins and outs of everyone else's life, it's almost guaranteed you will get FOMO upon opening any app.

The Joy of Missing Out (JOMO), as you can guess, is releasing yourself from thinking about what everyone else could be doing, and instead allowing yourself to fully enjoy the current moment. JOMO is about finding relief in disconnection, and realizing you maybe don't want to be doing what everyone else is. 

Notice your emotions when posting

The constant comparison that social media can perpetuate a culture where we desire validation from other people in order to feel good about ourselves. If you find yourself constantly checking the stats on one of your posts, or getting upset when it doesn't receive as much attention as you had hoped, you may be placing too much of your worth in the approval from others online. Ask yourself questions like: Why am I posting this? Am I looking for a specific outcome? Will I be disappointed if it doesn't get a lot of likes?

Turn off notifications 

Minimizing the number of notifications you get from your social apps could help reduce the desire to constantly be online and available to people. The constant buzz can keep us on high alert all the time, and contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Using these approaches, you can cultivate a social media experience that works for you. One where you can still build and maintain connections, but also prioritize your mental well-being in the process. 


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