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| by Omneya Hossam

Instagram Is Affecting Your Mental Health and Here Is What to Do About It

Do you even remember what it was like before social media became a big part of our life? Do you remember what life was like before Instagram?

I am not trying to get answers, like good, bad, or easy because this is not the point. I am trying to get an answer about how different it was from now. I think all of us can agree, it was drastically different. How different was it? and what is the difference that it brought into our life... is exactly what I want us to figure out.

To answer these questions; Imagine a typical Friday morning, you're in bed, holding your phone and scrolling through your Instagram homepage, watching what everyone has been doing and telling yourself... Stop there! Right there. At this moment! This is exactly how your life is different nowadays...

I know what you’re about to say...what’s wrong with scrolling through Instagram for five or even 30 minutes? Well...A lot, if you're not conscious of certain things.

Instead of waking up in the morning thinking about what you have planned for the day, working out or having a peaceful breakfast, like the good old days, the first thing you open your eyes to is what others are doing with their lives, especially your peers, and you start comparing. I want you to take a moment and think about what that means and how it affects your daily decisions and the way you view your self, body, and life.

Great thinking. Now here is what experts found. According to the Royal Society for Public Health, social media, especially Instagram, is contributing to mental health problems such as depression, loneliness and the constant feeling of dissatisfaction. The study showed that Instagram has the worst effect on our mental health because of its nature. It’s a platform where you basically see perfected and edit images and videos of people having a great time. You start thinking that they are enjoying life a lot more than you and are more successful so you end up feeling bad about yourself and your life. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there and felt that.

What you can do about it…

I don’t recommend shutting off Instagram completely because it still counts as a useful platform. I personally like to shop from it and see what my friends were doing if I haven’t seen them in a while. But here is how to use it right…

1. Don’t overuse it…

I know it’s a guilty pleasure, but don’t waste your time scrolling endlessly. You have a life you could be attending to. Use it just to check on someone, research something, for shopping, or if you feel the need to get inspired by beautiful things.

2. Don’t feel bad about yourself...

William Shakespeare once said in his great play The Merchant of Venice "All that glitters is not gold.” So I want you to repeat this to yourself; Instagram is not real life. Life is never that perfect for anyone, anywhere. So whenever you see someone having a great time, remember that everyone has ups and downs and that you are doing good at your own pace. No need to feel like you are missing out because there is no such thing.

3. There are other platforms…

The study also mentioned that youtube has the best influence on people. So instead of Instagram , think about something or a skill you want to learn and start watching tutorials and videos that will upgrade your level, skills and knowledge.

Bottom line is, there are a million things you can do using the internet, ingesting other people's pictures and the general expectations of what should be like could be severely harming your mental health. Everyone has their own unique life and experiences, so stay focused on that and don’t lose sight of what’s real.

Main Image Credits: Ingrid Goes West Via IMDB

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Tags: Health  Health 101  Health advice  Healthy lifestyle  Mental health  Women empowerment  Women's health  Instagram  Social media  Depression