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Mindful Media is all about reintegrating mental health into our modern lifestyle, and we’ve got some tips to help you keep it up! Social media is synonymous with overreaching advertising. From a business perspective, it’s an extremely efficient marketing tool. But from the mental health standpoint, social media has morphed into a behemoth of toxic addiction that causes depression and anxiety. So where is the middle ground in all of this?

In 2022, there were over 4.59 billion (that’s billion with a B) social media users worldwide, yet 33% of adults reported experiencing loneliness. Studies expect there to be 4.89 billion (yes, billion with a B) social media users worldwide in 2023, which is about a 6.5% increase from last year. Social media is not a human connection; it’s a tool to get eyeballs. And the goal of big companies pulling the strings is for those nearly five billion sets of eyeballs to stay glued to screens and focused on spending resources (money, time, energy) on specifically targeted merchandise, goods, and services. 

Spending on social media advertising surpassed $226 billion (again, that’s billion with a B) in 2022. In a recent survey, 59% of Americans reported being influenced by social media to make a purchase, and a daunting 45% reported having gone into debt to purchase something they saw on social media. It appears the schemes are working, but to the detriment of people.

Even some of the mental health ecosystem has succumbed to the prospect of financial gain in social media apps. Recent headlines have exposed therapy apps like Cerebral, Headway, BetterHelp, and Talkspace for various breaches in legal regulations and compliance standards. The use of data from some of these tech startups has been collected and sold to social media platforms and marketing conglomerates, leading to targeted ads directed towards the app users. 

We call on mental health ecosystem leaders to step up and ensure privacy and safety are paramount when using apps. And they shouldn’t stop there; we must be more mindful of these apps’ effects. Otherwise, the outcome is dire: social media will continue to dominate our minds and resources, spreading misinformation and disinformation, and targeting people to go into debt.

Routines and schedules are slowly but surely returning to somewhat normalcy after the holiday season has concluded and the New Year offered a refreshing reset. Whether you chose to tackle social media addiction or overuse for your New Year’s Resolutions or not, 2023 can be the year you decide to overcome social media and all its detrimental effects. As the New Year’s novelty wears off, though, you may be starting to fall back into old habits and routines with screen time and social media. Fear not; we have some tips and tricks to help you out!

Our first piece of advice is simply to remind yourself of all those damaging results of media overconsumption as outlined in this blog. And weigh this reality with your own experiences. Reflect on how social media has impacted your own life (both the good and the bad). Think about how you feel whenever you’re scrolling through timelines and For You Pages. Notice how much time passes from when you open the app until you stop traversing down the TikTok rabbit hole of (probably) useless information. It’s easy to read about the wild effects of social media, but identifying how it impacts your own life is the spark that ignites a desire for change.

Spring time is just around the corner, and it’s never too early to start a little spring cleaning. Hold yourself accountable to unfollowing one account or topic that does not bring you joy, life, wisdom, knowledge, and/or truth every time you open an app and start scrolling. There are probably several accounts you’ve considered nixing because they aren’t benefiting you. Start with those! 

Sift through the sources of information and entertainment you are giving your attention to, and ask yourself if there’s a truer or better place to garner news and information, or if you even need to be concerned with the subject of discussion at all. Purge and prune away! Maybe even reset your stored data to throw off the algorithms, and opt for a better curated timeline by prioritizing those good accounts and close friends in your feed/timeline settings.

You can reevaluate at a future time if you truly miss the accounts you unfollow, or maybe it has become harder to keep up to date with current events, etc. Just remember, trends change constantly (so really who cares if you’re behind on what’s “popular” at the moment), and FOMO is not a valid reason for reengaging with garbage accounts of misinformation/disinformation. Social media apps rely heavily on trends and FOMO to keep users addicted. Don’t let yourself fall victim to the monster.

The biggest tip to combat the negative effects of social media is by limiting its use. The average person spends 147 minutes on social media per day in 2022, which is the highest it’s ever been. But breaks from social media have been proven to improve well-being and decrease depression and anxiety. Incorporating consistent time away from screens boosts our mental health. 

No matter how you use social media, remember what is so enticing about the concept in the first place: connection. The digital, scripted, polished versions of interactions and relationships found on apps cannot provide what real, face-to-face communication can offer. It can serve a purpose and be part of the bigger picture, but as you integrate mental health more into your life, mindful media is a make-or-break piece of the puzzle. 

We hate social media. So follow us. 😎 We are invested in integrating mental health into all aspects of life, including on social media. We call it mindful media, and there must be more of it thrown into the mix of all the rest. The world will continue to utilize social media, so the time to push for healthier habits and uplifting edutainment is now. #MindfulMedia

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