The Pressure Of Social Media
Everybody loves a little bit of Facebook stalking, of admiring the glamorous and exciting lives of others through Instagram. But how does admiring the lives of people you have very little contact with in the real world make you feel? Does seeing the successes and achievements of others make you feel a little insignificant or is it having an impact on your mood?
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Social media can be great. It can be an outlet for you to share and socialise but it can also be not so great. It can add pressure to our everyday lives with its imbalanced and false image of other people’s lives. Our feeds can be flooded by pictures of people sporting the latest looks, doing some really exciting and fun things with lots of friends. Perfect lives?
When we are at our best our reaction to this could be being happy for them, leaving a positive comment or a ‘like’ on their post. But if we’re having a bad day it could make us think “Why are other people’s lives so perfect and happy????” It can be easy to fall into a trap of comparing our lives to the lives of our Facebook friends. This can have a negative impact on our mood and our self-esteem.
But then social media isn’t all bad either! It can be a positive thing that keeps us all connected. It can be a forum for some people where they can get support on certain issues at a time they need it the most. So how do you filter the good from the bad? We have some tips that might give you a bit of a reality check on what you see on your social media feeds.
Top Tips For Social Media Happiness
1. Don’t over do it
If you’re stuck in the house on your phone, i-pad or computer, scrolling through the lives of others 24 hours a day, then you are going to feel like pants. Get out and make your own memories! Its likely that the more fun you have in real life, the less time you’ll spend comparing your life to others.
2. Take it all with a pinch of salt
Don’t fall for the over-glamourising of lives on social media. Be happy for those that post the great things that are going on in their lives. But keep in mind that you don’t always see the full picture. While people’s lives may look fun and happy, nobody’s life is truly a bed of roses all of the time. They just don’t chose to share those bits! Social media accounts can give a very one-dimensional snapshot into someone’s life. People are less likely to post a photo of the time they spent the night stuffing their faces with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and watching trash TV, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen! Social media users are far more likely to post the good stuff, photos of them and their friends having a great time (photos that are often edited and filtered). This is what makes their profile interesting.
3. You don’t need loads of likes
Don’t stress if some of your posts don’t get the 100 likes you were hoping for. It doesn’t mean that what you posted isn’t interesting and it doesn’t mean that people don’t like you. Stop putting pressure on yourself. A ‘like’ on social media is nothing in comparison to the real deal. Try re-connecting with your friends in person. Talk about the things you might have done recently over a cup of tea or a walk in your local park. Human connection will always beat an online one.
4. Filtering reality
Filters are great and can be fun but be aware that people will often use subtle filters when they post photos on social media. We all want to look our best, that’s only natural. Just keep in mind, while you’re staring with envy at a photo of someone with big wide eyes and perfect skin, how common it is to use filters. No one can look that perfect can they?
5. Live in the moment
It’s ok to take a break from posting your every moment on social media, honestly! It’s ok to sometimes just live in the moment. Try making the effort to put your phone away every so often. Don’t bother with the selfies; enjoy what’s happening there and then. You will benefit from the independence from social media and keeping things real. Just because it’s not posted on social media, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
We hope that you’ll be able to follow some, if not all, of these tips. We know how hard it can be to change the way you think and do things, but we believe that following the tips above can make you feel a bit better about yourself in the long run. Good luck in navigating the complicated world of social media and always keep in mind that what you see on the screen is not always the full picture!
If you’re worried about anything you see on social media, or there’s anything else at all that’s worrying or puzzling you, then contact Meic. Our friendly advisors can help.
Meic is an information and advocacy helpline for children and young people aged 0-25 in Wales. We are open 8am to midnight, 7 days a week. You can contact us free on the phone (080880 23456), text message (84001) or online chat.