It’s easy to fall into the mode of endless scrolling on social media. Whether you realize it or not, what you see on your feed could be affecting your mental health, especially when it comes to your body image. Having a healthy, positive body image can improve your mental health. However, constantly being exposed to “perfect” photos manipulated with filters, calculated angles and Photoshop can give people unrealistic ideas and expectations about their bodies. Experiencing those negative feelings and making comparisons can harm someone’s body image or increase the likelihood of adopting an eating disorder.
While some parts of social media might be detrimental to our mental health, other parts can still be uplifting. Body positivity has been more widely promoted online recently by content creators and large brands. This more accepting mindset welcomes diversity in appearance and body size. With this type of encouraging commentary, social media may leave you feeling reassured and more confident in yourself.
So if social media is sending mixed messages when it comes to body image, what should you do? Here are our top three tips for navigating social media to help with your body image and overall mental health:
Filter Your Feed
Each time you see a new post, you might consider asking yourself how the content makes you feel. It’s okay to unfollow accounts that might trigger negative thoughts about your body image. Being exposed to content that leaves you feeling worse can be harmful for your mental wellbeing. When you filter out the negative, you can also make room for following accounts that spread a message of body positivity and that make you feel more represented.
Take a look at these accounts:
Remember Your Great Internal Qualities
Consider taking a step away from the screen and thinking about how you can base your self-confidence on your internal qualities, not just on how you look. What do you love about yourself on the inside? Perhaps it’s your kindness, empathy for others or your honesty. These important qualities aren’t as easily presented to us on social media, but they matter a lot when it comes to our overall self worth.
Take Time Away From the Screen
It’s okay to want to be on social media for the sense of connection and community that it might bring. However, time away from your screen can also be extremely beneficial. To make sure that you don’t spend all of your time scrolling, you can set a timer on your social media apps. Once the timer is up, you might consider devoting your time to other activities that will boost your mental health.
Some further reading about body image and eating disorders: