Hey everybody! I once again am dragging my feet and writing this post the day before, but I hope to be back into my usual rhythm soon. I’ve mapped out all my posts for July, and I’m really excited at the content coming up 🙂
That said, today’s post is going to be a serious one (I know, womp womp). But, as I’ve started utilizing social media more in order to promote my blog, I’ve come face to face with a lot of the cold truths about the way social media affects our perception of other people and the world around us- and how it has the unfortunate potential to make us very, very unhappy in the pursuit of a handful of likes and followers.
That said, I’m hoping that by outlining a couple of the proven consequences of obsessive social media usage below, all of us can acknowledge the damage it can do to our psyche and make active decisions to put ourselves first.
Increases feelings of anxiety and depression.
In a recent study on the effects of Facebook use on mental health, researchers at the University of Missouri cautioned that regular social media use could lead to dramatically increased levels of depression, if the user experienced feelings of envy.
Even if you aren’t jealous of the one girl you knew in high school whose posts keep coming up in your timeline, it’s a fact that younger people as a whole are putting social media on pause in record numbers, citing increased feelings of sadness, frustration, and anxiety as the prime motivation for reducing screen time and deleting their apps. It’s incredibly difficult to keep up a constant state of connection, especially surrounded by an endless web of strangers.
Exacerbates body image issues.
As amazing as the progress the body-posi community has made in recent years is, it is still incredibly difficult to hop online and be force-fed images of men and women who we are still being told are the ideal, the girl next door, the cool person everyone wants to dress like, spend like, look like.
Even though the narrative is slowly changing, I am also personally noticing an elitism emerging not just in body type, but in image and status symbols, the confluence of which creates the elite persona of the typical Insta celeb. It creates this feeling of inadequacy, that our bodies aren’t beautiful simply because they aren’t a carbon copy of an unattainable (and more often than not, plastic) body standard, and that we aren’t financially “good” just because we don’t have the car or watch or house of a multi-million dollar entertainer.
Sounds pretty ridiculous when you put it that way, right? But somehow, in the moment, we are consumed by those negative thoughts.
Makes us portray “fake personas”.
Following in the same vein as above, this idea that we are in a constant competition with an unbeatable enemy can cause us to act quite like ourselves. I sat down trying to put this into words for awhile, and then I found this article from Psychology Today that I feel sums it up perfectly:
“….the majority of social media users tend to edit and post only their most attractive pictures, or ‘put a rose-tinted gloss over their lives’ in an effort to idealize themselves and, researchers believe, to improve others’ impressions of them.”
I used to obsess and stress over the way I looked on the ‘gram. I wouldn’t post a picture unless I had a full face of makeup on, was dressed up ready for a night on the town. And the angles. OH BOY, the angles. So much work! I’m honestly a lot happier being real with myself and the people who follow me, and I’ll tell you what- so far, the reception has been nothing but positive.
There’s only one of you in this world, which is an incredibly special thing. It’s so important to remember that you are enough, you have value, and you have a story to share with the world, whether you have one or one million dollars.
Remember- sometimes you have to lead by example. If you start celebrating yourself on social media, there’s a chance others will too. And don’t be afraid to step back and take a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Keep it real,