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A Practice for Social Media

Image by Tina Mitchell for Mary Martin PhD

Remember the research about how a wandering mind is an unhappy mind, and that our minds have been shown to wander for nearly 50% of our waking days? It's over a decade old, and by the way I'd love to see some replication of it. But frankly, I think my own mind is all the replication I need. And I practice mindfulness, formally, for probably an hour a day!

I don't spend a lot of time on social media, which is terrible for my career (and there's a plot twist coming up soon about that), but I'm far happier than when I did. Here's a practice I created for LinkedIn, which appears to be a pretty sad space with glimmers of what it could be that keep me going back. It doesn't matter if you don't use LinkedIn; this practice is just over three minutes and it has multiple uses, as you'll see.

This is basically an awareness practice, and you can do it for any situation. In fact, a primary intention of learning mindfulness practices such as the body scan and focused awareness, and doing them formally (i.e., sitting for 10-40 minutes at a time, in silent practice), is to create a brain that naturally does those things throughout the day.

If there could be said to be an endgame to this whole project, it would be that you were constantly in a state of checking in on your experience. From noticing your feeling tone to noticing the sensations in your body and the thoughts that come and go to noticing when the sensations and the thoughts get together to form your emotions. You'd be in a perpetual state of being aware of how your circumstances and your inner experience collide and create stress and emotions and thought loops that degrade your well-being. You'd bathe yourself in self-compassion when you realized how far you'd gone down a particular rabbit hole, and then you'd . . . begin again.

Fortunately, as Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson write about in Altered Traits, that really does happen.

"An altered trait—a new characteristic that arises from a meditation practice—endures apart from meditation itself. Altererd traits shape how we behave in our daily lives, just just during or immediately after we meditate" (p 6).
"We feel that the more these upgrades in the brain, mind, and being are pursued, the more they can change the world for the better" (p 292).

Upgrade your brain, mind, and way of being. Change yourself and the world for the better. Lean in to what you're thinking and feeling as you interact with the news, social media, email, food, anything you think you need or want and are paying for, and every person you come in contact with. Although I teach mindfulness to financial advisors, kids, teens, parents, and executives, the content is the same. The content is your thoughts and interactions with your way of being and your life.

Have an easeful day.



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