What impact social media is having on mental health and body image

Social media, something that is used on an everyday basis by billions of people, people scrolling through insta, tweeting on twitter and snapping on Snapchat, its became the norm of everyday society. BUT, is it having a negative affect on mental health or people in general.

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I can’t remember a day where I haven’t scrolled through my insta and saw someone’s account and wished I had something similar to them, mainly along the lines of ‘why aren’t I as slim as her/him’ ‘I wish I dressed that good’ ‘I wish I looked like that’, think, are any of those thoughts positive to me? no, there all about wishing I was different but why can’t I be happy within myself? I’m sure everyone has gone through something similar, I’ve asked quite a lot of my friends if they’ve ever done this and all of them have said they’ve compared themselves to someone else at least once a day.

In this circumstance, this can be bad for mental health as your comparing yourself to loads of people everyday, 328 million people have an instagram account, imagine judging yourself to every single person on insta, this would have a really negative effect to your self esteem and self image. I am very fond of Instagram and I post up to 5 times a week, I would say I go on there at least 20 times a day; whether that’s scrolling through my feed, uploading a story or adding a post, so many people do the exact same thing.

Have you ever thought that you know someone and feel like you’ve known them for ages but you’ve never actually met them? you’ve just seen them on social media? This is probably because we see so much of someone else’s life more than ever before and we can learn so much about a person just basing it off their social media accounts.

There are also so many staged, photography which can make someone’s life look so much better compared to reality, which I’m all here for because photography is art and I think its beautiful, but some look too overdone. There are also so many flawless women in bikinis and so many in gym wear and they look stunning but this doesn’t help when it comes to self-doubt and perfectionism against our own-selves. I’ve had my fair share of times where I’ve looked at a women in a bikini or in gym wear and looked in the mirror and wondered why I don’t have a perfect body like her’s, but some of it comes down to angles. An angle of a photo can make or break an image and no one is ever going to upload an image on social media if they don’t see this as a perfect photo which I’m definitely guilty of because I wouldn’t upload an image if I looked terrible in it. Everyone’s life isn’t perfect and everyone has up’s and downs so don’t let the perspectives of the media contradict your opinion.

At uni, I’ve learnt all about addictions etc and I was thinking, why are so many of us addicted to our mobile phones and the use of social media? what makes us check our socials repeatedly even though we’ve seen the same post from the same person 3 times, let me tell you, there’s something called Dopamine in our body which drives on addictions, this is where you become addicted and seek out new information, a new photo etc, similarly to cocaine and nicotine, it gives us that same buzz. I’m not going to carry on talking about the boring stuff but it’s facts.

There have been so many times I’ve wanted to take a massive break from all social media’s and just concentrate on my blog but think, we as bloggers need these social media’s to boost traffic, make collaborations and to make us noticed. I’ve cut down on using social media because I used to use it so much especially at night so I get all my blog stuff done throughout the day and taking half hour breaks to rewind and concentrate on myself, I also spend less time on my phone in the evening as I know this can be quite bad so instead I will read a book or having a good pamper which I’ve been trying to do when learning to love myself. Taking time away from social media can be really beneficial for your mental health. I asked on both twitter and Instagram how many people had wanted to take a break from social media’s but actually haven’t, on twitter, 100% of people said they have wanted to take a break but haven’t and on Instagram 83% against 17% to wanting to take a break but haven’t.

All that being said, there are so many amazing things about social media that cannot be avoided, you can interact with life long family and friends if they life quite far away from you, you can make new friends which I have done through social media and I think that’s so special, I can also interact with the people that take the time to read my posts which I’m so grateful for. I think the main thing everyone needs to do is change their perspective on social media and not let it contradict your own self image and self worth.

When it comes to mental health disorders, I feel that social media can have its downfalls. I asked on both Instagram and Twitter whether social media boosts or minimises their self image, on twitter, 100% of people said that it minimised their self image 52% of individuals said it minimised their self image and 48% for boosting which is a huge difference to twitter. I also asked if social media has had an affect on their mental health and 60% out of 40% said it has on Instagram and 83% out of 17% said that it has also so their quite high numbers.

In my own experience, especially my eating disorder, some days, social media is almost impossible to use as I compare myself to everyone and it makes me feel even worse about myself and it has been known for social media to have a wide affect on anxiety, especially the way in which we perceive ourselves. Below, I am going to put a list of ways you can boost your mental health and mood when it comes to social media.

1. Have that break sis, even if it is only for half a day or even for an evening, having a small break from all social media’s and spend time with friends and family instead of sitting there and comparing yourself to others.
2. Go for a walk, WITHOUT your own, opening up your mind to the rest of the world and make you feel in touch with yourself which can also help with anxiety, sometimes when I’m feeling really anxious, I will sit there on my phone doing nothing about it but now I go for a long walk, have some fresh air and just have some alone time and when I get back, I’ll deal with the stress of social media.
3. Remember those friends you talk too on twitter DM’s that you’ve never seen in person? Organise that trip to see them (make sure you’ve known them for a while though and make sure their legit) 10/10 this will make your week and it will feel so much better than staring at a screen all day having a conversation, this can also boost your friendship.
4. Delete some of the toxic people from your socials, is there someone you still have on your Facebook that you haven’t got round to deleting that whenever you see a post from them it makes you sad? Delete them, it will make you feel so much better.

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That is the end to my post, let me know in the comments your thoughts on social media and its impact on mental health, I absolutely love writing these types of posts, I really hope you enjoyed this read, I hope it wasn’t too long, I’ll be back on Friday for a new post, goodbye x

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