Ever witnessed this? You’re walking in the park and you see a couple sitting on a bench. Instead of holding each other and having a heart-to-heart, they’re completely absorbed in their respective mobile phones. Unfortunately, this is a very common sight. Our addiction is so bad that we don’t even go to the bathroom without our phones. Let’s just admit it – we’ve all been guilty of getting sucked into these smart devices.
So, it is safe to say that we are completely addicted to social media, which has become so much more accessible. After all, we carry the entire world in our back pocket, accessible with a few clicks.
How Is Social Media Affecting Us?
Easy access to social media has brought us closer to others but taken us far away from ourselves, from understanding who we are and what our life purpose is. We are more intrigued by other people’s lives than our own. We’re constantly looking at a virtual reality show on what others’ lives — their lives, vacations, shopping sprees, and dating lives. But, its influence doesn’t end there.
If we cannot enjoy our lives the way our friends appear to be, we dive into unhealthy feelings of jealousy, frustration, and even depression. When we see others flourishing, it’s quite natural to want the same for ourselves. This creates an urge to post something to draw attention to our own lives and show off what we have — all in an effort make others envious of our good fortune and accomplishment. So, life has turned into a competition, where one is trying to outdo the other.
Does all of this seem familiar to you? Does everything boil down to being recognized and “liked” by friends? This constant hankering for approval can make us lose touch with reality. We end up doing things to get recognized, not for satisfaction or to gain more meaning in life. Our self-worth is being decided by how many people acknowledge and comment on our posts. If this is your frame of mind, it’s time to press pause and tell yourself that this is an unhealthy use of social media.
The Positives And Negatives Of Social Media
There is no doubt that social media can diminish the quality of our personal relationships. At one point, we used to put some effort into talking to friends and spending time with them. Now, we wish people and offer condolences, all with just a few clicks. While the convenience is a plus point, sending a text or posting on the wall is a lot more impersonal. It requires a lot less investment of our time into the life of another human being. It’s this investment of time into another person’s life that creates the foundation for any meaningful relationship. And ultimately it’s an investment in our own emotional well-being.
Fortunately, most things in life come with an upside and so does social media. It has connected the world in a way that has never happened before. People can raise awareness about a cause, concern, crisis or injustice all over the planet and work together to share ideas, communicate and find support and solutions in a much faster way. There are many digital media companies dedicated to spreading messages of health, wellness, and positivity to millions around the globe in a way that was previously not possible.
A Mindful Approach To Social Media
Perhaps, you can have a more mindful approach to social media and question your motivation for posting something. Are you doing it because it will provide useful information for others? Will it have a positive effect on the lives of others or are you just bragging and showing off? If it’s the latter, you can find the strength to refrain from posting such information because it’s not going to add real meaning to your life.
Mindfulness can also help us come to the present moment by becoming aware of our thoughts and emotions. It will allow us to understand why we’re doing what we’re doing and help us get in touch with ourselves. Mindfulness and meditation can give us an opportunity to look inward and understand what is happening within us. We are so alert and aware of the things that are happening outside of us, but are increasingly losing touch with our internal — mental, emotional, and spiritual — self.
There is no avoiding the tsunami-like impact social media is having on our lives. However, we can continue to remind ourselves of what is important to us in our lives and remain present to our current reality. Remaining present and mindful means paying attention to the people in our life that have supported us and to make sure we can be there for them physically and emotionally and not just “liking” their post.
Now that the holiday season is right around the corner and our level of distraction might increase with all the gift shopping and traveling, let’s have the courage to turn off our devices for some time and spend quality time with our friends, family and ourselves.