Is Social Media Affecting Our Mental Health?

You don’t really think about it as you’re scrolling through Instagram or Snapchat, but most of the time you’re subconsciously comparing yourself to the girl with 500 likes on her latest selfie without realizing the damage that is actually being done. The saying, “comparison is the thief of all joy” has never been more true in the case of social media sites. Before social media became as popular as it is, it was common to see a girl (or guy) and get a little jealous over what they had and wish it was yours. But in today’s world it’s a completely different deal when you’re constantly fixating on someone’s page; every picture, every Twitter post and Snapchat update, because you may want the life that this person claims to live.

If you don’t know by now, putting on a façade for your social media reputation has become so common that you can never really be too sure of who someone says they are when they log out of the social world.

I went through a time in my life where I did nothing but compare myself to other women that I followed on Instagram or Snapchat. I felt as though every one of those women was doing better than me in some way. If I didn’t think they looked better, I thought they dressed better. If it wasn’t the way they dressed, it was their success in life; and the list can go on and on. I drove myself crazy! I was constantly trying to emulate what I saw on social media so it could seem as though I had my life together. I didn’t realize what it was doing to me mentally.

I found myself being dissatisfied with everything in my life; not just my appearance but my job, the way I wore my hair, how I spent my free time, everything. I had adopted the “if you don’t post it, it didn’t happen” mentality and I was hurting myself. It contributed to my fight with depression and anxiety for over a year.

Photo via tumblr

It’s so easy to get caught up in all that you consume on a daily basis. It can bring on episodes of depression because you feel as though you aren’t good enough, or you haven’t accomplished as much as some of your other followers, and you don’t even recognize the signs because you’re too busy comparing your hair to a random girl that you found on the “Explore” page of Instagram.

The cure to social media comparison, that I’ve found to be helpful, is gratitude. Be thankful for what you have and who you are. You’re fixating on these people and the lives that you think they live, but you have no idea how it truly is, and you have no idea how they got to that point in their lives.

Social media hiatuses are an amazing way to begin to put a stop to that nasty cycle of comparison. I know it may be extremely hard considering that we basically live on the internet, but it helps. Taking time away from the pressures that social media can bring can lift so much weight off your shoulders; you’ll find that you have so much more to be grateful for in your life. Just because you don’t broadcast it the way some of your other followers may doesn’t make your life any less amazing.

 

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