The Power of the Like! 👍

Hey, thank you for visiting my blog. This post is a bit random, but I hope you ‘like’ this one! Just a quick note, my blog is primarily based on personal views and experience, sometimes referring to research and some background information, with the aim of helping anyone who may be suffering, or know of anyone suffering from a mental health illness. I would welcome any advice and feedback on my blogs, or your personal thoughts on the topic.

Let’s face it … we’re all obsessed with being liked. Whether it be in real life or via social media, we’re all looking for some platform to express ourselves on, and be accepted. Social media, in particular, provides the perfect place for this. So, following on from my last blog, I’d like to address the question – how does social media affect ones mental health?

I was on a bus the other day, packed full of school children, and they were arguing competitively over the number of Instagram followers they had. Being virtually famous (where your followers/friends may not even know you) really can lead to popularity in real life (crazy, right!). This ‘popularity’ can lead to obsessiveness, causing you to keep checking your account – this is where social media sites are doing well – the notifications encourage you to keep visiting the site. We’re constantly drawn into checking our news feeds to see updates from friends and family (i.e. being nosey!), and checking for notifications. So, in this sense, social media sites can lead to anxiety too.

But, social media sites help provide a sense of belonging for many – you can join groups, follow certain people, talk anonymously, join support groups, and find information and help on any issues that you may have. So, social media does provide many benefits for an individual.

I’ve talked about social media evoking a sense of belonging and acceptance, but it can also leave people feeling vulnerable and anxious. Let me first ask you, when scrolling down your news feed (on Instagram, Facebook, twitter, etc.), how many of you stop and like a post that has very few likes? I can’t imagine many of you do (myself included)! Having very few likes (or followers, friends, etc.) on social media can lead to feelings of loneliness, shame, and isolation; particularly when you see people you know booming in popularity on social media.

The main issue, however, is the obsession with celebrity culture and the ‘perfect look’, and it’s important to consider these issues in reality. The media and social media have such a huge impact on an individual’s life and lifestyle. However, in reality, each individual is different and this uniqueness should, in fact, be celebrated – at least everyone isn’t exactly the same. But, this isn’t the case – people are judged based on looks, lifestyle, status, and many more factors. This in turn can have detrimental effects on an individual, leading to (or exacerbating) low self-esteem, anxiety, (and in extreme cases) depression and eating disorders.

‘Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.’

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