Whether you work in social media like us or not, the magnetic pull of Instagram can take you down a rabbit hole that leaves you feeling deflated, depleted and in some, trigger depression.
There are pros and cons to social media. At rara we’re big fans of the pros (which I write about here), but they are not mutually exclusive from the cons.
It has become an automatic impulse to grab our phones and capture moments to share. Or often in my case, because I’m desperately holding on to a moment I never want to forget. We fill in every spare millisecond with trawling the grid, rather than being present or actually doing nothing for a moment. Instead of filling in time, if you’re not careful it steals time. Five minutes become fourty and in the guise of curiosity, inspiration-seeking and connection-searching you wind up with a nagging feeling of anxiety, centred around lack, comparison and sub-optimal interactions.
With fake followers, fake engagement, and over-edited photos of life’s curated highlights; everyone is now conditioned to feel an inflated sense of artificial attention and by this alone they judge their value.
One day we’re going to look back on this silly time, like we do families in the 50s; where mums’ had perfect hair and permanent make-up for their husbands. It simply defies logic and is not sustainable.
Here are my top eight tips on how to be mindful (and feel good) in an Instagram world:
Set Your intention
Us humans have an innate need for social approval. Whether you’re conscious of it or not. And when those ‘likes’ come through we are programmed to release a higher level of euphoric hormone. In the same way gambling machines are programmed to hook us in and play on our worst qualities. So too are social media apps and they don’t always have our best intentions at heart. Before you grab the phone, take a moment to ask yourself why? Own it.
It seems like an oxymoron hey?! But if you’re clear on your intention i.e. you want to waste ten minutes. Or you want to find the opening hours of a café. Or perhaps you want to check in on a friend who’s on holiday; set your intention first and then stay present and committed to it. Then out the phone down and walk away.
Get deliberate on the amount of time you have to social surf. Set a cut-off time and stick to it. Get purposeful on when social media actually suits works for and not against your life. For me it’s late at night, in front of the tv, when all the things are done. At rara we work within the social platforms for our clients on and off throughout the day. But we try to time-block when we do this. It takes discipline not to look at your phone first thing in the morning, or multiple (make that hundreds) of times throughout the day.
Do a tidy up
Do a Marie Kondo and tidy up your platform. Unfollow anyone or any business that leaves you feeling depleted. Follow the Grams that show generosity, integrity, humility, kindness, authenticity or who just simply make you smile. Follow people and businesses that energise and inspire you. Support the people who support you.
Detach from the outcome
Post for yourself or for your business authentically and not others. Post something because you want to post something. Or because it’s important to a project you’re working on. Not because it will elicit likes, or engagement. Likes are a superficial vanity metric. They’re not real. Be comfortable in the knowing that most likes are bought (most of our favourite celebrities, influencers and even some of your friends) and that you are a trailblazer of authenticity doing a good deed for those around you
Reframe your thoughts
Challenge your mind on the stories it makes up about not having enough, or not being where they are and all that comes with the murky world of social media and comparison. Instead of believing you are envious, reframe it as admiration or inspiration.
Phone a Friend
That’s right. Old school. There’s nothing better than the healing power of actually picking up the phone and having a phone-date with a real-world friend who supports you. Not the one with the perfectly-pictured home, outfit and holidays; but the one with the positive outlook, who is consistently consistent with being there for you.
Go to Bed with a Book
Make time to disconnect. Your last thought at night is often your first thought in the morning. Take control of the mindset you go to bed and wake up with by zenning out and reading a book.
So there you have it. While our appreciation for the good things that social media brings; it can also unearth negative emotions triggered by a fake-world that travel with you into your real world. Do yourself a favour try one or more of these ideas and we promise that you’ll regain your inspo and state of flow for the good things that social media can bring.
Words by Jade Roberts
raraPR Founder and Creative Director
raraPR is above all the sum of people who together help build brands and share stories. We are present in our determination to make a positive difference to the world by representing individuals and businesses that are doing good. We are an extension of the personal stories within us, those that we exist for and those within you that need to be heard.