With over 4 billion people using social media around the world, it is safe to say that it has become an important part of of our lives. Picture: AP
With over 4 billion people using social media around the world, it is safe to say that it has become an important part of of our lives. Picture: AP

Why you need to consider creating a mindful Instagram account

By Nosipho Nyide Time of article published Oct 10, 2021

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With over 4 billion people using social media around the world, it is safe to say that it has become an important part of of our lives.

It has also become really easy to lose track of time while scrolling on the various different sites that are now available.

According to reports, an average person spends about three hours a day aimlessly scrolling through social media.

Stopping this habit can be difficult because many people rely on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram to not only connect with friends and family but also to run their businesses.

However, while social media has been beneficial to most people, it is important to remember that spending too much time on these sites can actually make you feel more lonely, isolated and in some cases amplify mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

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The excessive use of social media may also lead to negative experiences such as:

Comparison and inadequacy about your life or appearance

Even though we know that social media only reflects a filtered snippet of someone’s life, it can still leave us feeling insecure about ourselves and our own lives. Comparison can also leave us with a sense of dissatisfaction with our reality just because it doesn’t seem to measure up to the images of people travelling the world or eating out every day.

Spending too much time online can also cause the fear of missing out (FOMO)

Something about constantly watching people ‘living their best lives’ can make it seem like yours just isn’t cutting it. This can then lead to you feeling the need to check your social media even more in an effort to not miss out on what others are doing and before you know it, you will have issues with self-esteem or anxiety.

One of the worst experiences one can have on social media is cyber bullying

According to research about 37% of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have been bullied online and many other users are subjected to offensive comments regularly.

Instagram and Twitter can be the breeding ground for spreading hurtful rumours, mean comments and even spreading lies that can leave lasting emotional scars.

These kinds of experiences, whether you experience them personally or witness others experiencing them, can leave a bad taste in your mouth. This might encourage you to want to make some changes to your social media life and ensure that you have a positive experience, because in essence social media is supposed to be light-hearted and fun.

With around one billion people using Instagram it is important to make sure that it is not negatively affecting your mental health.

Instead of trying to take social media breaks every other week, you can create a mindful Instagram account. You can do this by carefully choosing the people or businesses you follow and not be afraid to unfollow accounts that trigger negative feelings for you or are not in line with what you want to see on your feed.

Carefully choosing the accounts you follow will ensure that the content you see is relevant to you and will not leave you feeling envious, empty or isolated.

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Following people or businesses that are in line with who you are will make scrolling online beneficial to your experience.

But, what exactly is a mindful Instagram account?

Writer Alyssa Grabinski explained that a mindful Instagram account is essentially a ‘safe space’ that she can use for inspiration to be a better person.

In an article for Popsugar, the contributor wrote: “For me personally, this account is a ’safe space’. It's a place I can go to be inspired to take action to be the best version of myself. I only follow people whose posts actually help me become a better person every day. For me, this means meditation coaches, positive affirmation accounts, healthy recipe bloggers, favourite podcasts, and more.”

She created the mindful account after realising that she was spending too much time on the photo-sharing app comparing herself to others. This decision helped her to not only break her habit of aimless scrolling, but also helped her focus on herself.

“I feel better about myself simply because I've taken this step to reduce all of the other ‘noise’. I'm happier and more present. Instead of mindlessly scrolling, I'm able to focus on myself. I've stopped comparing myself to others, and it feels good,” she wrote for the publication.

An easy way to get started with you own mindful account is by creating a new Instagram account instead of attempting to change the one you already have.

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It is also important to be intentional about the accounts you choose to follow, as they make up your whole experience on Instagram.

So, if seeing people flashing their riches online makes you feel sad or anxious, then maybe avoid those accounts and instead follow accounts that share financial tips to get inspiration around making the right decisions when it comes to your own finances.

Make sure that the accounts you follow are in line with who you are or who you want to be, and if you realise later down the line that they are not, then simply unfollow them.

A mindful Instagram account is for you to enjoy so if you choose to make it private and decide not to allow anyone access to it then that is your choice. The account should be your safe space so anything that gives you negative feelings should not be allowed on that account.

The fun part is that if you happen to miss all the chaos and ’noise’ from your old account, you can go there and return to your safe haven when you need it.

Social media can be negative but there are ways that you can make it work for you, and a mindful Instagram account can be one of those things.

TYI

This article first appeared in Sunday Insider, Oct 10, 2021

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