Navigating Social Media and Screen time Mindfully

In the current technological age of social media and the internet, opportunities are abundant for making connections with friends or people you have never met. We can now express ourselves to the masses through the click of a button and follow real-time stories of traveling nomads or a mother’s journey with first-time parenting. 

 The difficulty that many of us face with this new phenomenon however, is that the phone or computer is now an endless source of distraction, leaving many of us feeling disconnected rather than engaged with our surroundings. 

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 Thank goodness for the times which we can step into the yoga room or forest bathe in nature to unplug, but what about the other 90 percent of our lives where boredom or habit leads us to swiping on someone’s feed for longer than we hoped?

It’s difficult to know what the appropriate use of our phone is, as it differs from person to person. However, the practice of yoga can help us relate to life matters in a more conscientious way. 

 For example, a yoga class can present opportunities to examine our degree of self-acceptance and compassion during the moments when postures don’t look or feel the way we expect them to. 

 Similarly, browsing social media can act as a self-reflecting mirror - to look at how we respond internally when we see a photo of someone smiling and living a happy and fulfilling life. 

 Questions you may ask yourself are: is there appreciation for this person for sharing a moment of their lives through social media? Do you feel more connected or inspired by them? Or does the infamous “fear of missing out” arise, leaving you to fantasize about what could be? Do you feel discontent and desperately desiring for what they have?

 The answers to these questions may not immediately arise, but through the inquiry comes an opportunity to see the truth of our relationship to technology and if necessary, push us to make a positive change.

 If you are seeking healthier approaches to using your phone, here are a couple things you can do right away.

 Before opening an app, such as Instagram or Facebook, close your eyes and take 3 breaths to feel whether it is something you truly want or not. By tuning in to your body, you have the chance to listen for what it needs, rather than reacting out of a force of habit. 

 Finally, the next time you’re at a yoga studio, instead of checking updates on your phone, ask another yogi how they’re doing - no different than leaving a social media comment on someone’s post. This simple act, of putting the phone down and being the long arm in extending to another person, is in many respects, the practice of yoga. These face to face interactions allows us dwell less in our minds and more in the reality of our bodies, giving us the presence to connect in a more open, honest and meaningful way.