It is hard to simply walk down the street without someone holding their phone arms length in front of their face trying to get that perfect selfie. The term, “do it for the ‘gram”, has become an all too familiar phrase. Trying to get “insta famous” or become an “instagram model”, is the new profession for our youths. But what is happening to our mental well being?
I wrote recently why I don’t post about important relationships on the web, and introduction on how I use Instagram in a more positive way. I have several boundaries and rules I follow to make sure my mental health is protected from the constant clamor of social media. Otherwise, it can be so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of compare and despair.
The Mental Affects of Instagram
So let’s talk about the mental affect of Instagram, or social media as a whole. It has been reported that heavy use of social media is causing anxiety, depression, sleep issues, and fomo among our youth. It is reported that social media opens an individual up to bullying, body image issues, eating disorders, and triggers the same part of the brain as substance abuse and gambling!
This is just the tip of the iceberg. We as a society are beginning to see and interact with the real world in a completely different way. Since we are deemed the “culture of comparison” and “living on likes”, it has caused our self image and self worth to be based on how we are valued by others. In essence, by the popular vote.
I have seen it before my very eyes, how one picture may not resonate with an audience and then my friend goes into a tizzy about what that means about her. Simple answer, it means absolutely nothing. Nothing has change with that friend from yesterday to today, it is just social media. But to our society, likes and followers have become social status. We read into Instagram way more than ever intended. It is just social media, and the majority of it is altered to make it appear a certain way.
The astonishing part is watching the impact on how we interact with one another. People want instant gratification. Instant dating, instant hookups, instant success, instant money. We have forgotten what it takes to build something from the ground up. How to communicate without emojis or through screens. It is noted as a whole that we have become demanding, self entitled, and forgotten compassion. It’s the era of me, my selfie, and I.
How about those precious moments out and about, but the pressure to get the perfect shot to share with your followers on Instagram, ruins the present moment. I have been to countless dinners where everyone is on their phone engaging with Instagram more so than engaging with each other. We are missing human contact, we are missing out on life in front of us.
If you are able to power down or shut off all social media completely, then by all means do it. You will not miss out on a thing, in fact you’ll gain back so much time, mental freedom, and happiness.
But for most, that isn’t the likely solution. I personally use social media for work. It is a platform I use to share my photography and engage with readers. I also try my hardest to post uplifting, inspiring content that will leave individuals educated or feeling confident about themselves. If you are in a similar boat where you can’t give up Instagram completely, try to do the follow suggestions:
- Carefully review who you are following. Are the individuals or companies you are following leaving you feeling good or bad about yourself? Remember, you have control over who you follow and what you let in.
- Limit the exposure. Try to reduce the amount of time on social media is a massive way to improve your happiness and mental health. Maybe go full days without using Instagram!
- Use the social platform for good. Join communities that are impacting the world in a positive way. Neda shares body positive posts, while the hashtag saveouroceans shares ways to help save the planet.
- Remember that social media doesn’t impact who you are as a person. You are you, beautiful and worthy just for breathing. Instagram was never meant to be taken too seriously or personally. It is just an app!
I hope this article helps you. Leave a comment below on your personal experience with Instagram and social media as a whole.