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Don't Let Social Media Affect Your Mental Health

I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am a soul that lives within. This song was released in 2006 when I was a teenager but is still so relatable today. At 16, I wasn't secure in who I was and with the way I looked: my skin (whether that be because of spots or my skin tone), my hair, my features- everything. And at that time, social media wasn't as big as it is now, but the opinions of others and other forms of media made me feel ashamed of who I was. Luckily, I learnt over the years to

ignore others and to love who I was. But this can be hard for some of us to do. Today's blog is about loving who you are and not letting outside factors affect you. It's about having some awareness of the major factors that can distort your vision of yourself. Here goes.... It is suggested that young people today are the most insecure group of all time. As soon as you pick up your phone and tap on Instagram or Facebook, for example, you are instantly inundated with pictures that either indirectly make you feel jealous or insecure about yourself. In a report by UK’s Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) of over 1500 people between the age of 14-24, they found that Instagram was the most detrimental to mental health for young people, causing negative feelings towards: body image, identity, sleep and causing depression and anxiety. The report quotes one respondent as saying, “Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough as people add filters and edit their pictures in order for them to look ‘perfect.' ” Forbes found 4 main reasons social media can make you feel insecure. Here they are: Envy You look at what your friends or strangers you follow are doing and feel that you need to be doing that too. While sometimes it can make you more sociable and decide to do more, like they are, a lot of the time it can make you feel jealous and heighten the insecurities you have. For example, if you want to fall in love and be in a loving relationship, seeing others in 'perfect relationship' will make you feel envious of them and make you question yourself. Please remember that not everything you see online is real. The relationship or lifestyle that people portray is not always the truth. You are only getting a snapshot into their life, and of course, people want to show you the best parts and not the worst. Don't compare your life to anyone else's. Stay in your lane, and be happy with the lane you're in. 2. Validation Obsession So the photo you uploaded: the photo that took 300 takes, took an hour to choose, then another hour to filter isn't getting the likes or response you wanted. How does it make you feel? Rubbish? Makes you question yourself as to why? Makes you think the world hates you? These are the thought processss of many other people like you. It's time to stop as this obsessing over validation from others is only feeding your insecurities. The only person you should care about liking your pictures is you! If others like them in the process, then great, but they shouldn't be the reason you upload. 3. Public shaming Many people use social media to make others feel rubbish about themselves. They sit behind a screen and type mean things to people they dislike, or strangers, just for kicks or to make them feel better. A lot of people who do this are insecure themselves and feel the need to make others feel insecure. Remember this before you retaliate or start to doubt yourself because of the unkind and untrue words of others. Don't let the darkness of others affect your light. Don't get me wrong, social media can have benefits. It can be a source of support and a place for self expression. Hold onto the positives, but be aware of the negatives. Awareness is everything. When you feel yourself questioning who you are because of the opinions of others, stop and think why. Is this a fact or just a thought that isn't real but one you're telling yourself it is.

Don't let social media govern who you think you are.

Remember you are a soul that lives within.

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