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Social Media and Its Effects On Mental Health

It’s no secret that social media is having a serious impact on our mental health. While there is a lot on social media that is good and even educational, there is definitely a lot on our feeds that can impact our mental health.

The thing about social media is it’s essentially just a highlight reel of what people want you to see. People are posting the best of the best in terms of images. Many are highly edited, and there are so many people touching up their bodies and faces. While many of us know that many pictures are not realistic and highly edited, it’s hard to ignore and it’s hard to feel like there’s something wrong with you because you don’t look like that.

On top of looking like perfection, feeds are filled with people sharing things such as vacations, lots of photos with friends, and things that just look exciting. You see people getting engaged, married, and having babies. I don’t know about any of you, but when I see all of these posts, I definitely start to look down on myself and wonder why I’m not out doing cool stuff constantly or why I’m not at the stage of life everyone else is at.

But, then I remind myself that those people going on vacations could be drowning in debt. Those people posting photos with friends could hate everyone in the picture or be having the worst time of their life. People getting engaged, married, and having children could be in toxic or abusive relationships. You really never know the whole story. People just show you what they want you to see and what they want you to believe.

I’m guilty of this too. For example, I post pictures of my puppy constantly showing him being all cute on our adventures. The reality is, he’s still a puppy in training and those adventures are not fun for me. In fact, they’re extremely stressful. He barks at other dogs, he pulls on the leash, and sometimes he decides to attack his leash because he wants to play tug of war right there on the trail. But, I don’t show that on social media. I only show people what I want them to see.

You’d never know he can be naughty by the pictures I post of him!

The other thing I hate seeing on social media is the toxic positivity. I see so many insane quotes and views that are people ~trying~ to be helpful, but the message is kind of like a slap to the face. You know, the ones that tell you stupid things like “choose happiness!” As someone who is mentally ill, I can assure you, I do not go out of my way to be depressed and anxious. If it were as simple as choosing happiness, my life would be a whole lot easier.

Tips For Protecting Your Mental Health On Social Media

  • Unfollow, block, and hide triggering people and things. If there are accounts that share images that make you feel upset, it’s probably best to unfollow them or hide their posts. If it’s a family member you can’t remove because it might cause drama, you can simply unfollow or hide their posts from your feed.
  • Follow accounts that do bring you joy. Not everything on social media is bad. Follow accounts that post things that bring you joy. Follow accounts that post uplifting content. Follow accounts that make you laugh. You do have a say in what your feed is filled with.
  • Limit your time on social media. Social media isn’t real life, even though it might seem like it is (especially with all of the isolation we dealt with the last couple of years). The pictures are all curated to pull you in. Spend some time away from the screens and you’ll see that most of those pictures are not realistic.

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