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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 discover how music and mental health are related! 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.

The effects of social media are not confined to just the human brain and wallet though (but it all eventually will lead back to how it affects us individually and societally). If you’re on TikTok, you know that the majority of the content is based on current viral trends, dances, original audio sound bites, and music. The app has become a powerhouse in the music industry with its ability to catapult unknown artists into stardom while also bringing forgotten songs back into the limelight for a new generation.

With over 1 billion monthly active users, it’s no wonder that TikTok is being taken seriously as a marketing tool for the music industry. Many artists have taken to the social media platform to promote their new music since trending songs on TikTok consistently top the music charts. But is this a healthy relationship? 

Forcing artists to create “TikTok worthy” music just because it will go viral and boost record sales sounds like a surefire way to burn out musicians. Taking the joy and creativity out of the process depletes music of its innate collaborative, healing, and authentic nature. All of us are on social media, so we are all responsible for creating a society that is bent on seeing and experiencing the next big thing. TikTok and Instagram exploit this obsession, but we are all to blame for participating in the harmful cycle. 

That’s where Mindful Media comes in! Take time to slow down your consumption on social media apps, and be aware of the content you’re taking in. Viral trends will be over sooner than they appeared, but don’t let that muddle your reality and experience of time. The real world works much slower than social media.

Consider, too, where it comes from and how it was made. Was an artist forced to make this song or video just for TikTok? Or is it a random old song that you never would have heard if not for it going viral on social media? Being aware of these types of questions and their answers, whether positive or negative, is the first step in incorporating more Mindful Media into your life.

The biggest tip to combat the negative effects of social media is by limiting its use. The average person spent 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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