The internet has developed social media into a tool for people to connect in ways past generations could never have imagined. It allows businesses to grow, friendships to form, and movements to awaken; however, studies have shown that social media can be detrimental to our mental health, making us more prone to comparison and low-self esteem.
Even when influencers post about their bad days, filters and poses make it easy to compare our lives to theirs and wish we were in their shoes. If most social media is a carefully curated gallery of people’s best days, how can you take advantage of all that social media has to offer without falling victim to its more insidious effects?
Limit Your Number of Accounts
What’s worse than having one Instagram account? You guessed it—having two. Consider deleting your personal profile if you own a business that needs social media. You’re doubling the content you consume when you have both a business page and a personal page. This leads to spending way too much time on your social media accounts.
Choose Your “Friends” Carefully
Contrary to popular belief, vanity metrics—the number of people you follow or who follow you—really don’t matter if you’re not an influencer.
Limit your follows/following to people you personally care about and keep in touch with. American culture has conditioned us to believe that more is always better, but as John Spence said, “Making a hundred friends is not a miracle. The miracle is to make a single friend who will stand by your side even when hundreds are against you.”
Use Your Time Wisely
You can limit your screen time by setting aside a specific time of day to scroll through your feed. Or, you can tell yourself you’ll only spend a certain amount of time on social media throughout the day. After that time is up, you’re done for the day.
Be Authentically You
Filters and poses are great for enhancing a photo but they add to the culture of comparison and impossible standards around us. Remember who YOU are when you’re posting. If you would feel confident sharing this post with your middle school or teenage self, then go for it.
You can even use a mindfulness exercise to check-in with yourself as you scroll. Ask yourself:
- How is this making you feel?
- How are these images hitting you?
Instead of taking the time to scroll through Instagram tonight, grab a journal. Write down five things you’re grateful for in your own life. Tomorrow, write down five things you’re good at instead of reaching for the phone first thing in the morning. And the next day, write down five things you love about yourself.
Let’s replace the negativity with some self-love. We could all use it.
It’s normal to be affected by the world of social media. Having your life compared to the lives of people on your screen isn’t fair to you. We get a tiny glimpse of someone’s life through social media. We don’t see the real messiness that life throws at all of us. It’s easy to think we’re just not good enough. Thankfully, you don’t have to feel that way anymore. Just because these pictures and posts and videos are out there doesn’t mean you have to watch them. Even with so many people in the world, you remain uniquely you.
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