Okay girls.. this is a subject that is VERY close to my heart and I still struggle with on a daily basis. I was never a confident girl growing up, was bullied throughout school and still am now.. when Instagram came along, I was excited to share my life through pictures and be able to connect with people all over the world.. little did I know that Instagram and social media would completely RUIN my self confidence whilst also feeding my ego.
This is why I started the #BEREAL campaign. I am SO SO SO SICK of seeing all these beautiful humans being so hard on themselves because they aren't travelling the world for a living or they don't have over 50k followers... LIFE IS NOT ABOUT HOW MANY FOLLOWERS YOU HAVE ON THE GRAM BABES! It's time to start showing each other that everyone is REAL. Below is a write up from a friend Nat who really inspires me to keep going even when I'm at my wits end with the human race and my own mind.
Here you go beauties.
The path to becoming a Conscious Social Media user Alone together. What does this mean? In a society where we have reportedly never felt more socially and community connected, why are we also reporting feeling more alone than ever? Social Media is the answer. This has become such a relevant topic that it now has its own term. “Alone together”.
The type of social media you are using or the length of time you are spending on socials isn’t the main concern. The more important question is HOW are you using social media? Are you consciously using social media and what does it mean to be a conscious social media user?
Be present, be aware, and question things including what you see, be positive, be productive, be engaged and be in control. We would probably all like to say or at least think we are conscious users however the majority of us are instead, passively consuming, sitting on the side lines digesting information, witnessing others highlight reels or alternatively and just as destructively so, absorbing a constant stream of negativity. Why is this so important to be aware of? On one hand you are in a constant state of comparison. Not the normal comparison that takes place while standing in the supermarket line comparing meal plans, or at the beach comparing beach bodies. Negative social comparisons take place in a completely unrealistic realm. While the idea of negative comparison may not be a new thing (memories of our mothers reading Women’s Day comparing there cellulite pop into the mind) We now have that comparison in the car, in the bedroom, in the bathroom, on the toilet, basically wherever you can take your phone (Let’s be honest we all take our phone to the toilet).
Not only are we oversaturated with opportunities to compare, we are finding ourselves comparing to UNREALISTIC images, such as filtered, Face-Tuned, posed, professionally shot, pimple free, model, holiday snaps. Trust me NO-ONE not even your favourite Social Influencers are living that life constantly. Studies have shown the act of comparison on Social Media is heavily linked to depressive symptoms, anxiety, self harming, body dysmorphia and potentially leading to even more severe mental health issues/illness, some with devastating results.
The stream of comparison worthy content seems to only be broken up with a stream of negativity waiting to un-expectantly scroll across your screen. Whether that appears on your socials as those negative people in your life over-sharing their drama, or of dogs being tortured in China, the children being slaughtered in Syria, your friends 29th break up saga, or the bully/troll that messages you seven times a day. Whether you realise it or not this all negatively impacts your mental health. Often leading to more severe symptoms such as depression, trauma, mental illness triggers and in some cases suicide. There is strong evidence to suggest that there is a real addictive risk that also accompanies social media use.
Do you recognise any of these behaviours in your use of Social Media? Neglect of personal life, mental preoccupation, escapism, mood modifying experiences, tolerance and concealing the addictive behavior. This is the criteria for “addiction”. Cases of severe depression, acute anxiety, social isolation, eating disorders, self harming and suicide are all real, documented and reported issues being directly linked back to excessive and unmanaged Social Media use. Now imagine if you already have a predisposition to mental health issues, such as a family history of mental illness, a past trauma, addiction history, unstable home environment, just to name a few factors. This combination can have a devastating impact on a person.
“Calm down, It’s just Instagram” some may say. Consider this, here is something that is proven to be addictive, have a devastatingly negative impact on your mental health if misused, is easily accessible, cheap and unregulated. So for someone that these symptoms may be ringing true to, it is an important and essential conversation to have. This is such a serious issue that even Facebook have Psychologists in their app research teams who work on areas such as “user well-being principles”. So with all that said Social Media is NOT the enemy but we also can’t rely on the Facebook psychologist to make sure our mental health is taken care of. This isn’t to scare you off social media. The point is to empower you to evolve into a “CONSCIOUS SOCIAL MEDIA USER”. Remember be present, be aware, question things including what you see, be positive, be productive, be engaged and be in control. Here are some Social Media survival tips to implement.
It’s time to clean house in your social media accounts.
Fill your feeds with love; follow those cute animal accounts (@mr.pokee Instagram is one of my favs), that beautiful florist account, the positive affirmation account. The point of this activity is to fill in the gaps between the more important pages to you. This will also impact the algorithm for your suggested pages.
Follow socials that bring value and enrich your life. Whether they are your favourite food inspo, yoga inspo, and your girlfriends who are real and lift you up. Mental health support pages and whatever else is important to you and you get value from.
UNFOLLOW accounts, friends, socials that are negatively impacting your state of mind and mental health, immediately, like right now…. I’ll wait…. because this is important. Would you allow someone to stand in front of you for 3hrs saying nasty things or making harsh judgements on you? Showing you heartbreaking images and content? (3hrs is the estimated time an individual spends on social media a day, I actually believe that to be higher based on my research and personal experience)
If you are being bullied, trolled, harassed. BLOCK. You do not need to subject yourself to that. Take control back. If that bullying escalates remember it is against the law, you have the right to feel safe. Report it to the police or someone of authority.
Use social media as a tool to enhance and create REAL life connections. Don’t just follow that women’s group online, go along to their physical meet ups. Ask someone to coffee. You never know your life may be enriched by the experiences.
Remember you control Social media not the other way round. There are helpful apps and tools that can assist you in controlling your social media and phone usage. Such as, In Moment, an app designed to track your time and alert to usage. (https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/block-social-media-in-moment/id1171075554?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4 )
Maybe it’s time to do a social app detox with this helpful app. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.dfki.appdetox&hl=en )
Schedule social media free days, or even half days. Or just as simple as not checking your social media until after 10am each day.
Finally reach out! If you feel like your social media use is getting on top of you for whatever reason, bullying, negative self image, suicide ideation etc. Speak out and reach out to groups like @Lunatique and organisations like lifeline 131114 or headspace https://www.headspace.org.au/. I guarantee you are not alone and instead of feeling “Alone Together”, let’s feel together in this. Qualifications: Natalie LuckenCounsellor, Social Worker, Youth Worker. References:https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/185/3/203/2915143 https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2017/12/hard-questions-is-spending-time-on-social-media-bad-for-us/https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/06/30/a-run-down-of-social-medias-effects-on-our-mental-health/#10c5a5e32e5a https://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/955407/programs-that-limit-your-time-on-social-mediaUniversity of the Sunshine Coast TAFE Qld