For far too long, social media has been a judgmental presence in the face of mental health issues. Many people struggling with mental health, scroll to see hundreds of people showing off their best angles and happiest moments. But doesn’t a picture tell a thousand words?
Many have felt isolated as the social media age has made showing off our “best” and “happiest” moments the norm. Since these moments are digital, the reality behind these off-screen moments becomes skewed. FOMO comes flooding in and shame makes us ask why we feel this way.
As social media has evolved, so have conversations surrounding mental health. It is becoming more common for creators to speak out against the mental health crisis. Social media also makes it easy to prescribe yoga and meditation as the fix for mental health issues. However, as more have become aware that they are not alone, more awareness is being spread about the severity of the issue.
The Spotlight Effect
Since we are inherently social, worrying about what others think of us is a natural concern. But social media has turned this worry into an obsession. The spotlight effect does not make this any easier. This is a psychological term to describe our tendency to assume other people are noticing us more than they really are. When in reality people are so worried about themselves, they aren’t actually thinking about us as much as we think they are.
Social media has increased the effect of social anxiety, making our feelings of acceptance and image dependent on the way we are perceived by others. Relying on others’ opinions only puts us into a cycle of anxiety. We hand our power over to others and allow them to make decisions for us even though we can only know what is best for us. It perpetuates a belief that we are not enough, making us seek out validation from other people.
More conversations are being had through awareness and honesty. By holding themselves accountable and being transparent with others, creators can create a more inclusive and honest space. I highly recommend following accounts that are good for your mental health. Unfollow the accounts that make you feel like you are not doing enough, that your body is not enough, that you are not “on track”, or in the right place. It helps to follow accounts that normalize these kinds of conversations and speak on mental health issues so you can appreciate yourself more despite what others are doing.
Here are some accounts that break the mental health stigma.
This account focuses on making diverse and marginalized voices heard, and intensifying feelings of self-love. It does an amazing job at bringing awareness with honest conversations, educating its followers, and bringing a sense of strong community.
As said by the Instagram handle, issues that we often feel alone in experiencing are felt by many around the world. This account posts questions that make us think and get to know ourselves, and each other, a little better.
Dr. Nicole LePera is a best-selling author and psychologist. She informs and guides people on becoming better versions of themselves by addressing core issues impacting their mental health. She dives into the psychology around mental health and creates informative posts on what some of our behavior means. Her content has depth, and can be a lot to digest, but is a great stepping stone into understanding more about what is going on behind the scenes.
When it comes down to it, Instagram is a place to express yourself and share with others. Social media has become a place where likes make us judge how valuable a picture is or how interesting we are. Although building your brand is important, it is important to ask how you want to express yourself and reach others. In order to reach others, we need to be honest about issues we all face. By doing so, you can authentically draw in creators that can relate more to your content and appreciate you as you are.