The media is a mass distributor of various types of information, from relevant news to clickbait. We are bombarded by different messages with varying degrees of authenticity daily and many people don’t see it as a distraction. However, we can learn to stay calm and mindful as we encounter media posts and the overwhelming amount of comments that follow it on social media.
Here are a few ways we can combat getting sucked into the black hole that media sometimes causes by using mindfulness techniques.
1. Step Back and Collect Yourself
Of course, there is nothing wrong with expressing your views to others, but, keep this in mind: Everyone has their own life, experiences, and views and not everyone will agree with you. A little debate is healthy now and again but when it turns into pointing blame at another individual of group, things will take a turn for the worse. Do yourself a huge favor and give yourself a minute or two to step back and collect yourself. Know what you stand for and be mindful of how you feel.
You can do this by simply thinking to yourself positive, affirming thoughts like, “I know who I am and my role in this world.” Or even “I know this world is not perfect and neither am I.” Know that you have no control over others and what they think.
2. Calm Yourself
Have you ever caught yourself reading a comment, status, or image that has boiled you down to the core? Guilty! We have all been there and our go-to instinct is to tell that particular individual off with a piece of our minds. The result? It varies, but usually, alters our mood throughout the day and can make us look annoyed to your friends and family. In these times, our best bet is to calm ourselves in any way we can. Look at a cute animal video, read quotes from your Pinterest board, write out your feelings on a piece of paper, or even dance your little heart out! Not only do you give yourself a chance to pay no mind to what has set you off but it gives you a chance to indulge in self-love and reflection. There is a misconception that mindfulness can be reached by merely sitting and meditating but the truth of the matter is just paying attention to yourself and shutting out the negative is enough.
3. Understanding vs Reacting
The media is built to get a reaction from its viewers. Positive or negative, it is fueled by our opinions and views, morals and beliefs. It can be a hectic tornado of views that contradict each other and grow bigger as people pile on. As a result, we have people pointing fingers, starting arguments, and sparking disputes based on their own credences. This is reacting. Reacting is also initially acting upon how you feel and not how others feel about a given situation or piece of information.
When a person takes the time to understand all sides as well as the issue, it makes it much easier to stay informed. When you are mindful of how you feel and how others feel as well, it makes for a clearer picture of what was meant to be portrayed. Understanding creates empathy and allows us to not take all things personally. In turn, we become more level-headed, calmer, and more pleasant individuals to be around.
We are constantly striving to improve ourselves, and we must take into account how to improve the way we interact with others.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere and at anytime to alter our mindsets and how we react to situations we are experiencing . We can use mindfulness as we navigate our different social media outlets.
First of all, you cannot expect to be at peace when you see news headlines of tragedies every day. I am not overlooking the importance of staying up to date on current events, but it can take a toll on your mood. Visuals are always a sure way to psych yourself into a relaxed and calm state.
For instance, if you become anxious while reading the news, take a break from reading and imagine that you are at a beautiful, green park looking at the sky. Observe the vast space, notice the color the sun gives to the sky and just be aware of how it makes you feel. Then visualize your thoughts as clouds in the sky that pop in every now and then. Like clouds, make the thoughts subside and leave your mind.
This allows you to not only be aware of your own thoughts but aware of how these thoughts make you feel and, with that, let them leave so you can continue your day. Social media will always contain various triggers for people and being aware of your own self and knowing your morals and such will allow you to put all of these components into perspective. Mindfulness works as a domino effect and can be a great tool in knowing ourselves and others. As a result, we learn how to control our own lives yet be empathetic of those around us.
We are in control of our own thoughts and feelings, but the world on the screen makes us fall into an endless whirlpool of stress and rage from time to time. Being mindful is not an esoteric practice that only masters can do, but rather an everyday ritual for one’s mind, body, and soul. Think to yourself, understand others, and listen to your own heart in the midst of uncontrollable events. You yourself cannot control the world, but you are in control of yourself and the way you react to the world.