Right now, we are living a large part of our lives online. Reading and watching the news, getting social media updates, chatting with loved ones of Houseparty or Whats App; holding meetings with colleagues or learning online via ZOOM...
Increasingly, we find our diversions online too - at least while restrictions on social interaction to tackle the spread of COVID-19 remain in place. We're listening to podcasts and audiobooks; watching Netflix and Disney+.
In the same way, we consume food - we are consuming information - and just like we pay attention to what we eat - being aware of our 'MINDfood' is also vital.
What we read, watch, and listen to all impacts on our sense of wellbeing. Positively and negatively. This 'mind food' can be a source of learning, a way to stimulate creativity; grow new ideas; relax and be entertained.
But as we know - there is a negative side - especially when it comes to consuming information via social media in particular. Various studies* have shown that high use of social media can lead to increased stress, anxiety and depression, decreased life satisfaction, lower self-esteem, shorter attention spans, and disturbed sleep.
Social media platforms are going nowhere and have many positive uses/benefits - staying in touch with friends and family far away - never more necessary than right now; uniting people around a cause that turns into positive action in real life - Helping our Health Heroes or the Celeste Barber Facebook fundraiser for the recent Australian bushfires.
Social Media is a way of sharing information quickly free or at relatively low cost. This feature is its key selling point, but as we know this aspect of social media drives the proliferation of 'fake news'; and hoax stories which can have deadly consequences.
So maybe it's about applying some Marie Kondo style de-cluttering principles to how we consume this mind food??
- Try to limit the amount of ‘news’ your read, watch or listen to throughout the day – and when you do consume ‘news’ make sure it's from a trusted source. i.e. NOT Facebook.
- Apps like Facebook and Instagram have settings that will send a reminder when we've spent x amount of time on the app. We set the boundary - it interrupts the mindless scroll
- Comparison is the thief of joy! It used to be magazines - now its Instagram. This. Is. Not. Real. Life. Let's not compare ourselves to a filtered view of someone else’s life. No-one has their sh*t 100% together. Especially these days!
- Mute or Hide posts to remove them from your feeds and timelines. When you mute words in Twitter settings, tweets with these words won't show in your timeline
- Unfollow people & posts that give rise to stress, anxiety, low esteem. If its inspiring save it. Go through accounts you follow every so often and do a clear out.
- Curating podcasts, music, books (kindle, paper, audible) TV, Netflix - gives us more control over the 'mind food' we consuming - its more mindFUL than mindless
Stay Safe. Mind Your Mental Health.
Brailovskaia, J., Ströse, F., Schillack, H., & Margraf, J. (2020). Less Facebook use–More well-being and a healthier lifestyle? An experimental intervention study. Computers in Human Behavior, 106332.
About the Author:
Maria Caldwell, Green Wave Wellness
Maria Caldwell is a yoga teacher with almost 15 years experience teaching public, corporate and one-to-one classes. Her classes incorporate a mix of movement, breathwork and meditation. She teaches dynamic yoga, restorative yoga, yoga for sports, and practical mindfulness.
In 2015 she qualified as Health Coach - certified by the American Council on Exercise, where she is currently studying a specialism in Nutrition for Fitness. She has a 360 approach to wellbeing - movement, nutrition, mindset and rest.
In addition to yoga, she likes to surf, hike, lift heavy weights and cook!
Find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram