In this day and age, over 77% of Americans have at least one kind of social media profile. Many people turn to social media for means of interacting with friends or communicating with family. While there certainly are some benefits, the downsides of social media can outweigh benefits for those that suffer from anxiety, depression, or struggle with self-confidence.

Before launching into a successful career as a fitness trainer and business owner in Atlanta, David Reagan had struggled with a negative self-image, as he earlier shared in an interview with Vizaca. Here he discusses the ways social media can impact your mental health and suggests ideas for regaining a healthy balance.

The Art of Comparison

Many professionals have noted that the correlation of social media with depression and negative self-image can be tied directly to individuals feeling the need to compare their lives and events with those that they are connected with online. As most individuals are aware, social media platforms tend to have content “curated” in which those that you are connected with go through lengths to filter and carefully craft the content they wish to share online with the public.

One can scroll through their feed and measure their level of success or happiness based upon the actions that are shared by their network. Experts call this “upward social comparisons” and it happens each time you open your phone to glance at one of the applications. One might see that others are posting about their level of success or happiness and derive at the conclusion that they aren’t “good enough” or aren’t content with the life they lead.

Fear of Missing Out

Commonly known as FOMO, social media projects the fear of missing out on opportunities to many people. Scrolling through other’s posts on quitting their job and traveling the world, making that risky decision to become an entrepreneur, or settling down and starting that family can quickly make one second guess the decisions in their own life.

Others see social media as another contributing factor to issues of inclusion and social status. Having a live feed into friends’ daily lives can be a bad thing, especially if it leaves one questioning why they weren’t a part of an activity. Not being included by those who are considered close can cause an individual to doubt their sense of belonging. Feelings of not being included can quickly lead to second-guessing one’s importance, self-worth, and relationships with those around them.

Ways to Regain Balance

Limit your exposure to social media. Consider setting daily time limits or downloading an app blocker that shuts it off after an amount of time. This can help minimize the impact of constantly checking your phone throughout the day.

Consider unplugging from the world for a period of time. Take a break for a week or two to help regain balance.

Remember that everyone’s online story is the one they want to present to the world. It doesn’t mean that they don’t suffer from anxiety, depression, or negative self-image. Bad things and disappointments still happen to those people, they just choose not to share those stories. Keeping an open mind that you are only seeing part of the picture should bring a sense of relief and help reduce constant comparison.

About David Reagan

David Reagan is an Atlanta-based NASM Certified personal trainer who specializes in weight loss, personalized workout plans, bodybuilding, and nutrition. He caters to high-end clients and executives in Atlanta, Georgia, helping them achieve their fitness goals by accommodating their busy schedules. The client’s needs come first, and David’s fitness plan will set you up on the path to success.