How to Create Mindful Media Consumption

We all are connected, not just in our social circles but with large communities, our country, and globally. Part of that increase in connectedness has its credit in social media and media in general. We can connect with someone on the other side of the world over a common interest, and it allows us to stay informed within seconds.

Media opens us up to many great things that expand our knowledge. On the other hand, it also can become a time-waster, a way to dissociate, to divide, distract, and a vessel for an increase in consumption of heavy topics. It is natural, as humans, to observe and experience tragedy and have an emotional and physical response. But with our constant stream of connectivity, we are more easily taking in information that is often tragic, traumatic, overwhelming, heartbreaking, and anger-provoking over and over again. 

The intention of this writing is not to be another post about the damaging effects of media, it is simply to encourage us to be more mindful of the amount of information we take in and the time we spend on the internet. Just like in other areas of life, where we spend time connecting to what we are feeling and the emotional responses coming up, it is beneficial to carve out time to do that concerning scrolling on social media or watching the news.

The world is heavy. It is okay to take a break and to recognize that there is a privilege in the choice to disconnect for a moment or longer but to allow yourself the room to breathe if it is needed as consumption causes natural responses of numbness, exhaustion, or fear. 

Some ways to change media consumption patterns:

  • Set time limits on specific apps (most phones have a space to do this in settings)
  • Delete apps altogether from your phone (does not mean that your account is gone)
  • Set a scheduled time to check the news (maybe that is for 10 minutes with your morning coffee or listening to the radio on your drive into work)
  • Notice how often you reach for your phone. How often it becomes your safety blanket on public transportation, in a waiting room, or during an awkward silence. 
  • Distract from the distraction (try to read a book, go for a walk, do a craft or a crossword puzzle as a way to distract from the distraction)
  • Speaking of other activities, make a list of things to do instead of scrolling through the internet

Whatever your desired media intake is, it is valid. Only you know your limits and preferred time of consumption. There are some light-hearted and beneficial spaces of the internet to occupy. Just begin with noticing where you are.