Social media is now involved in nearly every single aspect of modern life. When you get dressed in the morning, how often do you take a picture and showcase it on Instagram? When you’re feeling bummed out by work, do you tweet about it? And before you go to sleep, how long do you spend scrolling on your Facebook feed?
According to research, people spend approximately more than two hours every day on social media networks. With people investing so much of their time on these platforms, it’s no wonder it has changed multiple facets of our lives. Take a closer look at how social media affects your physical fitness and your mental health.
Everyone who’s anyone is getting in on the social media bandwagon. It’s getting to the point where even accountants need social media marketing to stay in the game. Aside from celebrities and other media personalities, another group has made it big on social networks: fitness instructors.
Thanks to platforms like Instagram, fitness coaches are building networks where they can tout their exercise regimens or dieting habits. Colloquially known as “fitspiration,” these accounts seek to inspire their followers into becoming fitter.
Although this started as a positive idea meant to share effective fitness habits and tips, there is a downside to the fitspiration movement. First, there are plenty of people shilling false promises and unverified claims as truth. Second, the constant exposure to extremely toned men and women can create unrealistic expectations, especially among young people.
However, if consumed critically and partnered with a healthy support system, fitspiration trends can be a great way to push you into living healthier.
Mental Health and Social Media
When it comes to its effects on your mental health, social media is a mixed bag. Immersing yourself in social networks carries both downsides and upsides, neither of which have been thoroughly studied due to its novelty.
On the positive side, social networks help you connect with friends wherever they are in the world. If you’re feeling lonely and need a chat, you can reach out to loved ones through social media. It also assists you in finding professional help, as mental health experts and institutions now have a lot of presence on social media. Browsing through social media helps you feel that you’re not alone, especially during tough times.
But the negative mental health effects of social media are also significant. Cyberbullying is still one of the largest threats these platforms present, with internet anonymity creating a perfect cover for random or targeted cruelty. Social media can also make you feel like your life or the way you look is inadequate. And of course, looking at what other people are doing with their lives can evoke the fear of missing out.
Like any sphere of human communication, social medial inherits the flaws of its users. If you feel that the current atmosphere of your social network is unhealthy to your mental state, you should reassess whether to continue participating in it.
Social media is, in many respects, still a young technology. Experts will have to conduct more research before they discover how can it affect your health. Just to be on the safe side, always be mindful of how and what you consume on social media. A critical mind is your best defense against false promises and negative emotions.