The Psychology of Twitter, Mindfulness and Your Mental Health
When 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.
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.