Being someone that is highly sensitive, I have to be aware of and almost filter out topical subjects that transcend from podcasts and YouTube videos to even written articles. It doesn't necessarily matter where or from whom these conversational ideas stem from, especially ones that have to do with the collective, but just the impact it has when literally everyone is talking about it. It can get to feel like everyone is feeling a certain way, "mercury in marmalade," or that something is in the air when a relatable tweet about loneliness has gone viral, but it's all about discernment–– learning not to pick up someone else's baggage and worrying about carrying your own.
This of course may all seem pretty difficult while scrolling through the gram, double-tapping lifestyles and ideas that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye and seemingly unattainable, but social media doesn’t have to be a matrix of covetous, or anxiety ridden thoughts like it sometimes dramatically is for me (lol). There are ways in which you can enjoy it without deleting it, and these are just a few tips on how.
via We Heart it
Disconnect (take time away)
Through my circulation of Twitter, Instagram, and even iMessages, I’ve learned that turning off my notifications works best for me in curbing anxiety. In doing this, it has made me more of a mindful person, teaching me that I don’t have to be up to date with the latest, being periodically notified of who’s liked my pics or retweeted a clever and humorous thought (in my mind anyway), but just present in the now, taking every moment in and ultimately making me less concerned with who is or isn’t interacting with my content.
To ensue more present moments, another way I like to disengage is with setting time limits for myself. Not as a restriction, but more so like a game. And to help me win this game against my app usage, I don’t check my email before noon (a distraction that pulls my focus from finishing my breakfast cereal before it turns soggy), and opt for a good ol’ paperback novel before bed instead of late night scrolling. For iPhone users, this may be a bit easier since there’s a built in feature that keeps track of how much time you’ve clocked between all of your apps, but for android users, if you haven’t already downloaded an app like this, I recommend setting alerts for how long you’re able to scroll. The goal? Simply to limit your usage day by day.
Reassess (are these feelings my own?)
However present some of these practices may help you feel, there is no guarantee that there won’t be moments when you find your mood fluctuating while scrolling through your social media feed. So throughout your perusal, another tip to curate your social media experience would be to perform self audits.
When you’re digesting bits and pieces of another person and their thoughts every couple of minutes, hours, or the majority of the day it’s easy to lose track of your own feelings and emotions and sometimes take on misplaced upset or outrage in a type of hive mind mentality. I find that asking things like “are these feelings my own?” or “does this comment really offend me or am I just triggered by something from my past?” helps ground me and keep me from taking things said or posted on the internet too seriously. These questions don’t at all have to be deep, but having justified feelings helps when looking to further adjust social settings by muting certain words, phrases, and people, or even Marie Kondo-ing it and unfollowing/blocking anyone that doesn’t “spark joy.”
Reapproach (what are you using social media for)
So now we’ve cultivated our following and our media content, but all of this being based off of what exactly?
When I had weeded out all that had made my experience on social media a roller coaster of happy Snapchat memory recounts and annoying Facebook game requests for tokens, I was left questioning what I was really doing online anyway? Was it to keep up with distant relatives that no way could be related to me without my parent’s say-so or the daily dose of puppy cuteness from my favorite Twitter account? Was my participation merely the result of FOMO or was I striving to be someone of influence (an “Influencer” if you will)?
Since I realistically lacked the discipline it would take to monetize my great wit (I’m just hilarious, aren’t I?) I deleted my accounts, wondering what was the point if I wasn’t profiting off of the pictures that I loved to take? My answer to myself was that posting to Instagram was a fun and creative outlet that bridged a connection to people with the same interests with whom I could collab with or just talk best locations to watch the sunset. And yes, also for some puppy joy down my Twitter timeline.
Reengage (how would like to live this experience?)
Once you find your reason for being online, I believe you will also come to find joy–– finding less and less temptation in engaging with anything that doesn’t feed you or your happiness, and discovering more ways to enjoy social media as you would like.
If you’re looking to curate your best social media experience, I highly suggest taking the time to check out other in-app tools and features when perhaps next changing your avi or linking your next project to your bio.
These are just a few tricks and tips, but ultimately, it is important to note that social media is much like traveling the world, but through the screen of your device, and much cheaper, and only you can decide how you choose to experience it.