Social media websites are popular ways to stay in touch with friends and family, make new acquaintances, and promote hobbies or work. Facebook boasts 2.7 billion monthly active users, Twitter has 330 million, and 1 billion people enjoy Instagram. Taken at face value, social media sites are about letting others peek into the significant moments of people's lives, as well as smaller, day-to-day activities. From weddings to the coffee they just ordered, people document it all. But how honest are people when sharing on social media?
Many people use photographs and posts to portray their lives in a positive light. They feel competitive and want to be seen as having a happy relationship, a thriving career, gifted children, adventurous hobbies, or the world's cutest baby. Social media allows its members to curate their life by only opting to showcase their finest moments. It can leave a false impression with their friends and followers, which leaves more people feeling that they have to try to live up to the lives they falsely believe others are leading. Understandably, people want to be seen in their best light. Still, it's questionable where some social media participants draw the line. It can be easy for friends and followers of an account to forget that social media is not real life. People can easily frame their lives as endlessly positive and exciting, leaving others feeling like they can't compete. It's important to remember that any social media account can be manipulated. They may be like a sports highlight reel, showing all the accomplishments and proud moments while leaving the rest deleted and out of public view.
How often have you seen someone post pictures that made you green with envy? Perhaps it's a shot of a couple embracing during a beach vacation or sipping champagne at a fine restaurant on their anniversary. The pictures look quite romantic, but the couple may have been arguing the whole day in paradise or on the verge of a divorce. Rather than admit this or not post anything, they faked a selfie to look good or hide their truth from the world. Maybe you saw pictures of a happy family unwrapping presents around a Christmas tree and wished you had a warm, extended family like theirs. What they did not share is that two of the adults are not speaking to each other, and the kids were running wild and acting out most of the day. The possibilities for faked fabulous lives on social media are endless, making it essential for everyone to understand that sometimes they need to view posts through a filter. To take all posts at face value invites envy of lives that are 'as seen on TV' rather than genuinely representative of what a person's life is like. It's also worth reviewing the way a person represents themselves on social media. How much of it is an authentic look at their lives, and how much is an attempt to fake a life they wish they were living?
Social media postings can foster envy and depression in those who follow them. According to Pew Research, a whopping 71% of those who use social media report that they see content that makes them angry. Another 49% experience depression, and 31% sometimes feel loneliness after viewing certain content. The University of Pennsylvania conducted a study that asked students to limit their social media viewing to no more than thirty minutes per day. After three weeks of this new habit, participants reported feeling lower depression, anxiety, and loneliness. While many people use social media out of a fear of missing out, the study participants also expressed less of this fear, despite spending less time reading people's updates.
If a person finds that visiting their favorite social media websites makes them feel worse, it's important to consider taking a break. Whether it's a day, a week, or a month, time away often elevates a person's mood. Monitoring everyone else's updates and curated pictures can be time-consuming and negatively impact how they feel, making a break worth fitting into their schedule whenever needed. Some people even find closing their social media accounts liberates them in a way they did not expect. While family members and friends may balk at losing someone's updates and attention via social media, an individual must make decisions that are best for them.
Social media websites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are meant to allow people to connect and enjoy witnessing each other's lives and significant events. Too often, being a part of these accounts leaves a person feeling depressed, anxious. They think they cannot compete with the curated worlds people show off on social media, even if they aren't completely honest about their lives. Valiant Living has expert programs designed to help clients manage their mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. We can teach you how to address your issues through multiple treatment modalities, leaving you ready to return home to lead a more balanced life. Our men-only program offers a small setting in the Denver area that includes a full range of services, including detox and addiction programs. Call us now to find out how we can help you change your life! 720-669-1285