Instagram and Depression – How to Stop an App from Making You Depressed

instagram and depression
Lana Otoya

INSTAGRAM AND DEPRESSION

Did you know that Instagram ranked #1 as the worst social media app for mental health and well-being? Turns out that looking at all those images of happy couples, beautiful bodies and perfect lives is making us depressed and that there is a serious connection between Instagram and depression.

I’m not going to tell you to stop looking at Instagram – that would be insanity! But maybe these pointers will help our mental well being when scrolling through the sea of perfection.

people post the best part of their lives

Ok let’s get the obvious one out of the way. We all know this but then we forget about it when looking through our feed.

A photo is nothing but a millisecond snapshot of someone’s life.

It doesn’t show anything about what they were thinking or how they were feeling that day. Photos don’t show our deepest darkest thoughts and secrets.

For decades society has structured photo-taking to be the capturing of a happy moment.

What’s the first thing (ok, besides “cheese”) that someone says when they are going to take your picture?

“Smile!”

…and you smile whether you’re happy or not.

We can’t trust photos to be an accurate representation of people’s lives. Especially when they’re the ones taking the photos and choosing which ones get published to the world.

instagram and depression


LIFE IS NOT A COMPETITION

“Comparing yourself to others is harmful to your mental health, yet many of us measure at least part of our self-worth against other people. Comparing ourselves to other people robs us of a sense of joy in who we are and the lives we live. A 2006 study1showed that comparison to others is connected to unhappiness, guilt, envy, regret, lying, and blame (Comparing Yourself to Others While Coping with Depression).”  – HealthyPlace.com

 

Science is a tough one to refute. When you compare yourself to others, you are wreaking havoc on your mental health.

I’ve worked in the film industry for many years and the actresses that I see with their perfect bodies DEFINITELY pay a price in order to look that way.

They work out all the time and they barely eat anything.

There is nothing wrong with that lifestyle.

But it also doesn’t sound like very much fun.

Most of us would rather have our not-so-perfect looking bodies and enjoy our lives.

Maybe you aren’t cut out to be an Instagram model – maybe you just want to be happy instead?

YOU CAN’T BE GOOD AT EVERYTHING

As much as you try, you’re never going to “have it all”.

You can’t look at one Instagram feed of a woman with a perfect body, then another one with a woman being a perfect mom, then another one with a woman driving her new Mercedes and then go “aw man, why can’t I have all this stuff”.

The answer is simple, it’s because you can’t do everything.

Maybe you’re really smart and have dedicated your life to researching a cure for cancer. That’s freaking amazing! But maybe you made a sacrifice because you had to work and study a lot so you aren’t in a relationship right now. If you are happy, that’s ok! You’re on your path.

If you’re not happy, there is nothing wrong with switching paths and going down another one, but you can’t go down ALL THE PATHS. 

Choose something that makes you happy and follow that journey.

Don’t try to jump ship onto someone else’s journey because you might just find that their journey isn’t that great – Instagram didn’t tell you that part.

INSTAGRAM MAGNIFIES OUR INSECURITIES

If you feel down about your body and you see a “perfect” one on Instagram, it hurts.

If you are struggling in your relationship, and you see a “perfect couple”, it hurts.

When we remind ourselves that Instagram has the power to put a microscope on our individual insecurities, it helps put the power back in our hands. It allows us to take action.

If you’re noticing yourself feeling jealous of happy couples, maybe you are in an unhealthy relationship that needs to be addressed.

If you are jealous of someone on a fancy vacation, maybe you need some time away from the office.

We have the power to control our own lives and we should never forget this power. Our mental health is the most important thing that we should fight for and protect and anything you do to help keep it stable is a payment to yourself.

FOCUS ON YOUR OWN INSTAGRAM FEED 

If all else fails, unfollowing people or taking a break from social media can be a very healthy thing to do.

Start getting out there and living your own life and take awesome pictures to post on your own feed! Go out for a walk and take a photo of something that makes you happy. Spend time with a good friend and take a selfie together. Book a vacation and take a snapshot of your flight confirmation.

Follow your own interests instead of following someone else’s.

Us Millennials are addicted to our phones and social media and although there’s nothing wrong with that – it can get to a point where we’re taking it too far and we need to reset.

Focusing on your own Instragram feed can remind you that your life is just as good as anyone else’s and that your feed looks pretty sweet when you’re looking from the outside in.

And if you don’t have Instagram…it might be for the best 😉


Why haven’t you followed me on Pinterest? Thank you. You are nice 🙂

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