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Instagram: Positive Addiction or Mental Health Destroyer?

Alright, it’s time we talk about this. I’ve read so many conflicting articles about Instagram’s effects on mental health. Some sources claim that with every like, we receive instant gratification that only feeds the negative parts of confidence. In other instances, I’ve read that Instagram and self-esteem don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Today, I’m digging into this.

According to a study from the Royal Society of Public Health, all forms of social media (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat) have a negative impact on our mental stability. Those who spent two or more hours on social media were found to have increased symptoms of anxiety and depression. What do they trace these issues to? Negative body image. Of course, the lives you are seeing on social media are constructed. It’s almost as if people are presenting their best selves. We only put out there what we want people to see and know about us, right? Then there’s filters, cropping, and plenty of posing to make it look juuuuusssttt right.

Think of the unhealthy pattern we live in. Most of us, especially young women, can say that we go to bed checking Instagram and wake up and scroll our feeds. Sounds pretty unhealthy, but then you add the fact that we negatively compare ourselves to others and BINGO, you’ve got a recipe for a self-esteem disaster.

But there is an easy way to fight this, and it all starts with being aware of the negativity you create in your mind when you see a gorgeous photo of your friend at her formal and you wish you looked THAT good. Start to question why you feel the way you do. Does a particular image of someone make you jealous? Do you see a photo of a beautiful island getaway and start to feel sad about your life? Why? Get to know your inner feelings. Target this immediately. Start to transform the jealousy you feel into an opportunity to grow and become a better version of yourself.

Maybe the best thing to do is unfollow people who make you feel negative. Perhaps following the bikini model is only making you feel guilty about that cheeseburger you ate after a long week of studying. We get it, girl. We love cheese too!!! Start following some users who make you feel genuine and empowered. A good start would be motivational speakers, feminist pages, or even religious support groups. It all starts with your mindset. You have the power to change how this little app makes you feel. It’s time to start taking control of your feelings and loving yourself a little more every day. XOXOXO

 

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Well hi there! My name is Madelyn, and I'm a freshman at the University of Notre Dame majoring in Pre-Medicine and Romance Languages. I'm a lover of all things fashion and beauty, and it's my dream to intern with a magazine one day. You can catch me perusing Vogue, singing in the Opera, dancing with Troop ND, boxing for exercise, and obsessing over anything pink. I hope you can find something lovely in my articles that sticks with you! Cheers!! XO
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