How are you? No, really, how are you?
If someone asks you this in-person vs. online, do you have the same answer? How many people a day do you see on social media that look happy? How many do you see that look sad? Those two numbers are likely very different. Often on social media we see everyone happy and thriving, but it is rare that we see the more real side of people, the struggles, the internal monologue they’re having with themselves, the mess their house is and so much more. So, what effect does this have on us when all we’re seeing is a bunch of perfect people in perfect squares? The answer is it makes us self-doubt, compare, wish our life was different and so much more. Who you follow on social media has a great effect on your overall mental health, whether you realize it or not.
I was first introduced to this topic a few years ago at a conference by a woman named Bailey Parnell and have been intrigued ever since. Her TedTalk “Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health?”, which can be viewed below, is extremely eye-opening and changed the way that I’ve interacted on social media over the last few years. What really struck me is the internal monologues that we have with ourselves while scrolling, I never realized I did this until it was pointed out and I still catch myself every now and again thinking “wow that persons life looks perfect” when in fact, I know very little about it or them. Through the years, I have continued to follow Bailey and along with her Skills Camp business, she also has created a sister company called Safe Social Media Co. where she sets people up with the proper skills to practice #SafeSocial.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
For me, I have found myself using that unfollow button more often when I am no longer inspired by someone on social media. I don’t want to use social media if it is making me compare myself to others or envious in any way. I want to see my friends and family, see them enjoy activities or adventures, see their little ones growing up and stay in touch. While this doesn’t mean I unfollow all influencers or celebrities, I find it has certainly made me more aware of who I am following, why and being aware when it is no longer serving me in a healthy way. It is also important to monitor how long I am using social media, I find the longer I am on apps the worse I feel which relates to #doomscrolling, you can read more about that in my blog post here.
Though there are risks to social media, there is also so much good that can come from it, but it is all in the way you use it and it is important to check in with ourselves. How do you protect your mental health when it comes to social media consumption?
Learn how social media can affect your mental health and what healthier habits you can incorporate into your life! https://bit.ly/3siYkTF
How do you protect your mental health when it comes to social media consumption? https://bit.ly/3siYkTF