Social media has taken a bit of a bashing recently, with articles suggesting that it can cause addiction, unhappiness and envy, amongst other negative emotions. I for one have never taken to it…that was until I set up my calmingcrohns.com blog and a mindfulness twitter feed at the end of last year.
Immediately hooked, I’ve not looked back since. I already had an established meditation practice to build on and I’m not suggesting that that hasn’t helped me to become more mindful, of course it has. It’s just that blogging and posting on twitter seems to have made me more mindful. It feels like it has hyper focussed my mind to be more aware of being in the moment. And, in turn, feeling more mindful is having the effect of decreasing negative emotions and increasing creativity and positive feelings.
Could it give you your daily dose of dopamine?
So, what could be responsible for this? Scientists suggest that getting ‘likes’ and attracting ‘followers’ can result in a release of dopamine, a brain chemical that is associated with pleasure. I guess we just need to be careful that we don’t get hooked on the ‘likes’ and the ‘followers’ and to always remind yourself that your happiness and success does not require the approval of others.
For twitter, the word count limit might be a contributory factor adding to mindfulness and enjoyment – the act of hyper focussing the mind to deliver a message that is no more than 140 characters in length and is both satisfying and rewarding. It can make you feel as if you’ve actually achieved something with minimal input. And you have, blogging and posting on social media is modern day publishing.
An introvert’s dream – hiding behind an electronic device
As an introvert living in an extrovert world, social media can be the perfect opportunity to get your message out to the wider world from the privacy of our modern day portals – our phones, tablets, laptops. No-one has to see us perform in real time and we don’t have to be seen to be heard.
Isn’t it the opposite of living in the moment???
It honestly feels like it is encouraging me to live more in the moment. Thinking up bite sized thoughts and sayings on the spot, as opposed to mulling them over for an age and making them ‘perfect’ is very much being in the now for me. The brevity of the messages and the fact that it is in real time means I don’t really think about perfecting them. Win, win given that perfection is simply an illusion. So, in addition to making me (i) more mindful (ii) more creative, and (ii) more positive, it is also reducing the need to ‘perfect’ something before hitting the ‘publish’ key.
So, fellow social media junkies or recovering addicts, please excuse any typos and I will sea you in 6 months time at a TAA group near you where each session begins and ends with ‘om’ to encourage more mindfulness.
TAA = Twitter Addicts Anonymous