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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

The Psychology of Twitter, Mindfulness and Your Mental Health

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Jun 10th 2009

twitterWhen I first ran across this twitter website I had my own automatic negative thought. I said to myself and others, "Wow, we've really done it to ourselves now. How much more meaningless, unnecessary and distracting information can we fill our days with? Do I really want to know that Bob just watched a repeat episode of I Love Lucy?" So I brushed it aside and went on my way. A year later as I began to see it more often I realized that it can be used to for than my original knee-jerk response had thought. It can actually be used to support mental health. Let me explain.              

Abraham Joshua Heschel said, "Life is routine and routine is resistance to wonder." When we're dealing with struggles like stress, anxiety, depression, or addiction our minds get caught in their own routines and we begin to get trapped only seeing things a certain way. I thought to myself, wouldn't it be wonderful if I could be tapped on the shoulder every once in a while and reminded to pop out of the auto-pilot I was in, to come back to the present moment, and be able to pay attention to something new or to something I'm really wanting to attend to in that moment. If you regularly follow my blogs you know I have a special interest in weaving mindfulness into everyday life as a way to support us with issues regarding mental health and wellness.

So here I realized that Twitter could be used as a vehicle for people to receive messages, not about what I am doing, but as a tap on the shoulder to be reminded to pop out of the routine or auto-pilot they may be in and become more present to everyday life. In other words, a way to strengthen the mind to pay attention to what is really important in that moment and to come back in touch with the wonder of everyday life. I started this at http://twitter.com/Mindful_Living . This can be set up to reach the phone so a reminder can be sent via text, to stop, come to the breath and become present so we can choose how we want to be in that moment. Like anything, used in excess, this can also be a hindrance, keeping us connected to an electronic leash that is healthy to separate from at times. So, these twitter updates will be used skillfully.

This is about getting mental help in the spaces of daily living to cultivate a more mindful life which has been shown to be a great support when dealing with issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, and addiction.

What other ways might you see twitter being a benefit or a hindrance? Share your thoughts, questions, and stories below. Your interaction here provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.  

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    In Touch While Out Of Touch - Paul - Jun 11th 2009

    I'm in therapy for old family issues, prudence deems that I not have any contact with them (for now).  They do care, & twitter is a safe way for me to let them know what's going on.  By agreement they don't respond, but at least they can get a "snapshot" of my life.  Should things improve, twitter may no longer be needed, but for now they're kept informed and I feel safe.

    On Twitter - - Jun 10th 2009

    I to thought the same thing about Twitter....but I have found many helpful sites/blogs because of it. Sometimes I even have a good old laugh at some of the tweets, which can sometimes make my day.

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