By the wonderful Dr Elise Bialylew, Founder of Mindful in May
Have you ever found yourself up late at night scrolling through Facebook when you were meant to be going to sleep?
You’re not alone.
Social media addiction is becoming an increasing problem.
As technology develops exponentially, at the click of a button we can access an infinite amount of information. With this privilege, comes the potential cost of information overload, technology addiction, increased distractibility and low-grade background anxiety as we try to keep on top of things.
With invisible umbilical cords connecting us to our devices, staying present and undistracted, especially when we’re with our children, is becoming an increasing challenge.
We need an antidote for this situation.
One cure is mindfulness meditation, a training that has its origins in Buddhism but is being proven by science to be a powerful tool for enhanced well-being and mental focus.
Mindfulness is a training that helps us become more present, self aware and better able to respond rather than react on autopilot in our everyday lives.
It’s been shown to help with impulse control by experts such as Judson Brewer, American addiction psychiatrist, and is a powerful tool for kicking addictions ranging from drugs, to social media. In his book “The Craving Mind: from cigarettes to smart phones to love, why we get hooked and how we can break bad habits” he shares research on the power of mindfulness to disrupt addictive behaviour.
Here are four steps for using mindfulness to overcome your social media addiction.
Take a moment to reflect on your relationship with social media. Are you happy with the way you are using it? Do you feel you might be a little addicted? If you find yourself scrolling through Facebook until the early hours of the morning, the answer is probably yes.
2. SET AN INTENTION
Set an intention around changing your behaviour in relation to technology and think about practical steps you can take to make it more difficult to get hooked. Consider taking the social media apps off your phone and commit to sleeping without your mobile in the bedroom (even for just a few nights to see what effect it has).
The next time you feel the urge to check social media take a pause. Recognise you are caught in craving. Count to ten before continuing to use it. This can interrupt the urge.
When we crave anything there’s usually an uncomfortable emotion or feeling we are trying to get away from which leads us to do something that will bring us pleasure. Take a moment to bring your attention to your body. Sense any emotions or feelings that are present (agitation, stress, loneliness, boredom). Once you identify the emotion, silently label it to yourself which brings more mindful awareness to your current state and shows you what the underlying issue might be that is driving the urges.
Mindfulness, this ability to be present from moment to moment to what is happening, allows you to consciously notice what is happening as it is happening and pause before you act on your urges. In this way mindfulness helps disrupt automatic habits and addiction loops.
Becoming aware of your cravings is the first step to having more choice around how you’re going to relate to them. Mindfulness is a practice that will help you catch the urge before you act on it and help you break bad habits.
If you want to train your brain towards greater presence, less distraction and better impulse control to help break bad social media habits then join thousands around the world who are taking the 10 minute a day Mindful in May challenge and learning meditation with the world’s best teachers while also making a positive difference for a global cause.
Learn about the benefits of mindfulness and How to Use the Mindful in May X Dream Life Mindfulness Journal here…
For a limited time join the Mindful in May campaign and learn from the world’s best mindfulness and well-being experts.