It goes without saying that social media is a large part of many of our lives, it’s made sharing content to a large number of people easier than ever before. It aims to connect us, however, in many ways it also disconnects us from reality.

Excessive time spent on social media can lead to harmful effects particularly for one’s mental health which can lead to feelings of anxiety, isolation and a sense of FOMO.

Whilst social media is beneficial as it allows people to stay up to date with family and friends all over the world, it is also important to maintain a healthy balance for the time you spend scrolling.

Feelings of insecurity can come with large amounts of scrolling time on social media. It’s easy to forget that a large amount of the images you are viewing have been tweaked with filters, effects, or even with a whole glam team behind them which can lead to dissatisfaction with how a person feels about their own appearance.

Instagram is a highlight reel of a person’s life; it shows only the best parts and withholds the low points which everyone experiences. Essentially, apps like Instagram are a tool for self- promotion which glorify the best moments and can push aside any unwanted reality. In real life, we don’t have the ability to edit and filter our lives but Instagram gives us the power to do so.

For this reason, it’s no surprise that Instagram was rated the worst social media platform for young people’s mental health. It also reduces the chances of those suffering with anxiety or depression being open about it. Images of ‘best lives’ can easily lead people to forget that it is in fact okay to not be okay.

Social media fuels self- esteem issues to do with body image. Timelines filled with ‘Sarah’s discovery’ and fake weight-loss products pave the way for rising numbers of eating disorders particularly for young people whose bodies may still be growing or changing.

Life can be hard sometimes for all of us, and for that reason, it is so important that we use social media to share stories in order to create conversation. When we share stories is when things start to change.

Particularly in this time, it is easy to scroll through images of people cooking, playing an instrument, or people’s fitness routines and think they are a reminder of things that you ‘should be doing’. However, it hides the reality experienced by most, where there may be days where motivation is impossible to come by. That is completely understandable and normal, especially in this time.

Social media is a bubble which allows an escape from reality, posting may make a person feel better about themselves. ‘Likes’ and ‘comments’ become tools for boosting one’s self-esteem. However, it’s important to separate screen lives and real lives. Most of us don’t have perfect lives despite how it may appear online.

Don’t feel weird if you feel like you need to take a break from the highlights reel – a social media cleanse is always a positive action for your mental wellbeing.

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