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by Nina Westbrook


Mind

Social Media and Mental Health: Scroll For Self-Love

by Nina Westbrook


Social Media and Mental Health: Scroll For Self-Love

by Nina Westbrook


by Nina Westbrook

Ah, social media, where do we begin? From Instagram and Facebook to Twitter, Tik Tok, Pinterest and Reddit, these platforms are a massive part of our everyday lives. Now, not everyone is immersed in every social media platform known to man, but Instagram alone reached the 1 billion global user mark by the end of 2020 which is absolutely wild!

What I find interesting is that many of us dedicate a lot of time and energy to the act of cultivating healthy relationships with people who bring joy, strength, and support to our journey while often neglecting to cultivate a healthy relationship in regards to how we engage with our social network.

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Although social media can be a wonderful source of connection and inspiration, it can also be the source of a lot of anxiety, depression, comparison, and pressure. I recently watched a docuseries on HBO max called “Fake Famous,” and I believe it accurately depicted the painful truth about Instagram and the entire “influencer culture.” I’ll spare you the details but the series touched on the pressure to take pics at the ‘right’ angle, to engage with audiences in the ‘right’ way, and the pressure to portray that you live a ‘desirable’ life. Not everyone is looking to be an influencer but many of us encounter them as we scroll through our social media accounts and struggle with those feelings I mentioned above. So, how do we protect our mental health and well-being while tapping into these platforms for the good they have to give?

How to Protect Your Mental Wellness While Engaging in Social Media

  1. This may seem like a basic concept, but people PLEASE do not believe everything you see and read on social media! It is the job of an influencer to present themselves in a desirable way. Unfortunately for most, this means luxurious lifestyles and seemingly perfect-looking people. I am here to reassure you - nobody is perfect. It’s almost scary how much someone can alter their face or body with the swipe of an app.

  2. Comparison kills, so don’t compare yourself to what you see on social media. I personally believe comparison kills your mood, your joy, your dreams and have firsthand experience with the negative impact comparison can have on one’s mental health. If you see something you like, literally, “like it ❤️,” and keep scrolling. Since it’s impossible to determine what all is happening in a single moment in time, AKA one photo, try not to fill in the blanks. It’s generally a total waste of your energy. The old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” simply doesn’t apply to the world of social media.

  3. Don’t forget, YOU HAVE THE POWER! Yes, I’m aware that algorithms exist and that all of the tech stuff is often beyond our scope, but we still have a say in what we see on social media. Carefully and actively curate a social space compiled of things that inspire, motivate, uplift, educate, and bring you joy. By doing so, you can take advantage of all of the positive elements of social media.

    Have tips to share for protecting mental wellness on social media? Leave us a comment below!