Are we in too deep?
Lets talk about Instagram? I’m going to say you have an account? Maybe you manage a business account also? Or maybe your kids have started using Instagram ….
You’re not alone, in June 2018 Instagram celebrated that they had hit a MASSIVE 1 billion activeusers on the social media platform. But is this something to celebrate? Is Instagram good for our health or are we too deep?
Have you ever stopped and considered how much time you spend on Instagram alone? Apple teamed up with Instagram to launch the ‘screen time’ feature to help users police their own screen time. As a company Instagram certainly don’t want to put you off using their app, but this is showing duty of care, but have you ever stopped to consider that what you’re seeing on Instagram, even from accounts you freely clicked follow on could be damaging your mental health.
Research shows us that many of us are now affected by anxiety, low self esteem and obsessive thoughts of comparison all linked to social media. Do you scroll down your feed thinking ‘oh I wish I looked like him’, ‘how does she look so good and I don’t’
Or are you having your own personal battles already and Instagram is almost fuelling them? It can be anything from a word, sentence or image that evokes an emotional response in a person. It can bring about particular memories or thoughts that may be traumatic.
Here’s the steps we can take to help beat the Instagram blues;
•What triggers a negative feeling in you?
• How does it make you feel?
• Resulted in?
If you keep note of all of the above, what the trigger was, what feeling it brought and what unhelpful behaviour this resulted in (eg actively seeking out the profiles of other people who make you feel inadequate).This way, you’ll be able to see clearly which posts are sparking unhealthy thoughts and behaviours. Then you can start to do something about it.
So, what can we do about it?
Personally, I love Instagram. I use it for my job (obviously) and in my personal life, but if you follow me personally you’ll be mega gutted, not insulted or made to feel anxious….523 dog posts a week. – if that’s your thing come at me. But it is very easy to see the dark side of Instagram, The hashtags that shouldn’t be allowed, the negatives being promoted as positive, even the rise of younger generation debt through Instagram influencers (Kylie I’m looking at you and your $85 dollar lip kits when you had fillers all along hun) and lets not get into bought followers and bots…
So, lets go
- Unfollow – it’s not illegal and it’s easy to do. You CHOOSE who you follow and what you see. Nobody else. You’re totally in control here, they can’t do anything, most won’t notice and there’s nothing stopping you going back and re- following at a later date. Once you unfollow monitor how you feel, is it a weight lifted form your shoulder that you won’t see that accounts so called perfect life anymore? If you didn’t like what you seen in a magazine you wouldn’t buy it again would you? (disclaimer – I once got called out for unfollowing someone…..true story)
- Control what you see – Open your Instagram, head to settings, then privacy and comment controls. Yup you guessed it this feature lets you list words – or even emojis – that you consider offensive, inappropriate or triggering. Comments on your posts containing these words will be hidden.
3. Keep it private – There’s a lot to be said for having a private profile – privacy being the obvious, then security and control. A public profile can bring with it a need to perform or portray a certain way of being – which can bring added stress. It might not be necessary if you only want to share your posts with people you already know. Think: what’s the aim of your content being public? Are you promoting a business or a personal brand? If you’re going public to get more likes (ultimately, for validation) then be aware that it can be precarious to base your self-worth on this.
4. Talk to someone – let someone in on how you’re feeling, this is the first step in your journey and I can bet there will be a 101 people ready to help you!
So How can we get the good from Instagram?
As I said above, I love Instagram but I’m picky with who and what I follow, as you scroll your brain is taking in imagery and words so why not make it take in positive imagery and words and stuff you personally value…here’s a few steps on how you can make your Instagram rewarding.
- Search for stuff that makes you feel good. I’m a massive fan of #morningmotivation and the daily stoic and animals….not saying that will work for you. But a sausage dog dressed up as a storm trooper is something that will never cease to make me smile. Again all personal but find what gives you the happy vibes and run with it!
- Follow accounts that you learn from …. makes it look like more than just a pastime eh. This will be very personal. I follow a few marketing pages, blogs and business pages to spark ideas and help with motivation.
- Unfollow – as above v v important.
- Give the likes out like sweets at halloween. Does it cost anything? No. You have a like, you have a like, everyone gets a like.
- Promote positive behaviour – start with you! Are you posting positively? Think before you post.
- Numbers mean nothing – that glossy account with 125k followers could be all show, and just someone looking for validation or even help.
Please remember whilst social media addiction is not yet recognised by the world mental health organisation if you are feeling your use is out of control we recommend you reach out for help and speak with someone.