Instagram is an incredible way to stay connected with the outside world and to keep in touch with distant loved ones. It lets us share photos and videos, connect with anyone and stalk our favorite celebrities. After an hour of scrolling, you have probably bookmarked several posts showing you a new recipe to make, clothes you must buy and your next dream vacation destination.
This is all fun and games … until it begins to negatively affect your mental health and self confidence. There is a difference between liking someone else’s posts because you love their outfit and staring at someone’s posts because you don’t think you could ever take that good of a photo for your own account. Viewing an Instagram story of your friends having fun verses viewing that story and feeling left out and alone are not the same feeling. The moment you start comparing yourself and putting yourself down in your mind will be the moment you take a step back and realize how social media can crush your self-esteem and self-talk.
Because of the social media influence on our lives, it often takes a very long time to choose a picture to actually gain the courage to post, and editing the photo is a whole other story. Instagram can be harmful because you don’t see any of the “behind the scenes” of the posting process when viewing a picture on your feed.
If you share these frustrations, know that there are ways to avoid feeling negative after scrolling online.
The reality of social media is that people are only going to share the good parts of their lives with the Internet, but it negatively affects us because it’s all we see. This makes it easy to fall into the comparison trap! Without even realizing it, you compare pretty much every aspect of your life to people you barely know.
Instead of wishing to be another person, tell yourself that you are you for a reason. Everyone is different and unique in their own way.
Focus on yourself
Instead of focusing so much on the lives of other people, focus on yourself and your positive state of mind. Let’s use Instagram to motivate us, instead of bringing us down. Wishing you looked exactly like someone else or had a friend group as great as theirs will get you no where. Use this moment to actually do something about it. Take an exercise class that makes you feel strong. Call up a friend and ask if they want to hang out. Do something for you!
Know that just because someone’s social media page portrays an incredible life doesn’t mean that they don’t deal with hard days like you. Just because someone else looks like they are thriving doesn’t mean you can’t thrive in your own life. You are the one who decides how you get to live your life. Choose to be self-confident! Yes, it’s easier said than done, but it’s so important.
Know your habits
The newest iPhone update has come out with a feature that allows you to see how many hours you spend on your phone, and how you can limit your screen time. Knowing exactly how long you spend online can be a little frightening, but it can also convince you to do something else instead.
Try putting your phone down and taking a break from social media – even if it’s for just a few hours. Instead of going on your phone right before bed, try reading a book to help calm your mind and detach for a bit. When you do go on Instagram, try to follow accounts that don’t make you feel inferior. Follow the accounts that inspire you with each post, such as an account with workout tips or meaningful quotes. Simple things like this can make a huge difference.
Once you decide to make a change, you’ll be glad you did. And nothing compares to that!