Many modern people can’t imagine their lives without popular social networking sites.
Ordinary internet users spend at least 142 minutes a day on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Today, social media is an essential tool for communication and entertainment. But the question is whether intensive usage of this wonderful “tool” harms mental health.
This article will discuss how social media feeds anxiety.
Every person is unique. Everyone is beautiful the way she/he is.
Unfortunately, most people think differently. They can’t embrace their flaws and accept their physical imperfections. As a consequence, they suffer from anxiety on a regular basis.
When it comes to social media, things are getting worse, unfortunately. When you see photos of models with perfect bodies, ideal skin, and ultimate style, you start comparing yourself to them. It makes you feel miserable because you feel like you are not the most beautiful/sporty/smart/rich/successful person in the world.
However, the truth is that you should never compare yourself to someone you saw on social media. It’s a bad habit, which may destroy your life.
You should understand that most people, who look stunning on Instagram photos, look different in real life. Today, almost everyone uses photo editing tools such as Photoshop and LightRoom to get their waists smaller or to make skin smoother.
Don’t trust photos from the Internet. Most of them are fakes. Don’t compare yourself to non-existing “perfect bodies”. There is no sense to compare real horses with magical unicorns, don’t you think so?
Social media judgment
No matter how independent you are, you still care what other people think. When you post a photo in a swimming suit, you expect that someone will write in comments “you look hot”. When you wait for an hour and get no flattering comments, you start feeling anxious.
You start asking yourself whether you look good enough on that photo. You wonder what your granny will say if she sees that you share sexy pictures on social media.
Every image you publish online, make you feel uncomfortable and experience a fear of being judged by others. To solve this problem, you should teach yourself to be independent of public opinion.
Also, you should learn how to deal with negative comments. You should understand that lots of people abuse anonymity.
So you shouldn’t take negative feedback to heart. When you get an evil message, mark it as spam or send it to trash. These messages aren’t worth your attention.
Social media influences people in different ways. From one hand, social media platforms motivate every user to exercise regularly and eat healthily. From another hand, the media construction of reality makes people set unrealistic goals and experience anxiety.
Let’s consider the negative aspect of social media influence in more detail. Imagine that you follow a good-looking fitness trainer John, who promotes clean eating, on Instagram.
You set a goal to become as slim as John, so you decide to stick to the diet he recommends. You cook exactly the same meals as he does, despite those portions seem to be ridiculously small for you.
In a day or two, you start feeling hungry, angry with yourself, and anxious. You can’t understand why John can stick to this diet and be happy, and you can’t.
The truth is that John also can’t cope with this task. He pretends that his diet works because he wants to be popular online. If he doesn’t post photos of cheesy pizza and French fries on Instagram, it doesn’t mean that he never eats junk food in real life.
Don’t allow social media to misguide you. Don’t let creators of fake content make you demand perfection from yourself. Be realistic and set only achievable goals.
Social media addiction
Doctors recommend avoiding using mobile devices one hour before sleep and at least half an hour after you wake up. Also, they recommend using social media for less than an hour a day. Unfortunately, most people don’t follow these simple rules and, as a result, they suffer from anxiety.
The problem is that excessive use of social media affects the quality of a night’s sleep. Modern young people tend to stay awake late at night because they want to be the first who will see the newest posts.
The trick of social media is that new content appears every few minutes. It’s a reason why you find it challenging to force yourself to close the app and go to bed.
Most social media users don’t understand that they suffer from real addiction. In average, people check their phones every 12 minutes to 80 times a day. It distracts them from their core activities and makes them feel anxious.
So if you really care about your mental health, put your phone away. Change your social media habits and control time spent online daily. Don’t allow the virtual world to substitute your reality.
Don’t allow social media to feed your anxiety. Behave wisely. If someone publishes more photos from exotic trips than you do, it doesn’t mean that he/she has a better life.
If a girl posted 30 photos from a trip to the Maldives, it doesn’t mean that she spent 30 days in the Maldives. Probably, she stayed there only for three days but took 30 photos in different swimming suits. Never forget that social media shows not real life, but its perfected version.
Daniela McVicker is a contributor to Topwritersreview. She is also an experienced writer with a degree in social psychology from Durham University. Daniela is primarily focused on writing about self-improvement.