“You become what you think about” the phrase I found one day on social media that gave me a whole new outlook on life. This simple six-word phrase gave me a feeling of freedom, opportunity, and newfound happiness in my life. Self worth and personal identity are two of the most critical things for a person to hold sacred. Social media often gets a bad reputation for being diminishing to a person’s mental health and how they grow as a person. Sometimes we focus on that so much that we forget how beneficial online life can be as well if we just put ourselves out there, take chances, take advantage of every opportunity we have creatively, and become fully honest and vulnerable with ourselves. This submission is all about the positive effects on mental health, stress, and self-image that can benefit your life by way of social media. In this article you will find some interesting facts and tips that show you online life doesn’t always have to be such a bad or evil place.
Deborah Serani, PsyD once stated in an article, “There’s a lot of science grounding expressive language writing and journaling as being an extremely helpful piece for maintaining mental wellness” (Novotney, 2014). A few points of this reading really struck a chord with me. The subtitle to this same article delivers a very important idea, “Patients, caregivers and even psychologists are using blogs and other social media to help each other — and themselves” (Novotney, 2014). We often forget that to receive help, we must only ask for it. It is easy to become overwhelmed with emotion and stress, in the real world and sometimes writing it all out or talking to an audience in blog form is one of the best ways to release that tension. There are different blog sites for any topic you may want to speak on. By definition, if you are interested in a topic, then that makes the topic interesting. This theory will aid you if you ever worry whether people will care what you have to say. No matter your age, gender, race, or social status, we all have something to say and there will always be someone out there willing to listen.
Another way social media can help your life is with stress management. Now I know some may think about how stressful online can be with people getting into popularity contests or seeming like everyone is doing better than you in life, but research paints a different picture. When referencing a study done by the Pew Research Center, Megan Friedman stated, “The study discounts the anxiety you might feel while you compare yourself to your friends’ amazing-looking lives on Instagram; the researchers say any fear of missing out is balanced by the social benefits of being connected. People who use social media felt like they had bigger support systems, and that’s a big psychological help” (Friedman, 2015).
We all think of social media causing anxiety by comparing ourselves to others, but when we stop and think, the majority of our social media revolves around our true friends and the ones we talk to on a daily basis. There are also very many groups that allow us to connect with new people on topics we are interested in. One group to join could even be a stress relief group to help manage stress and find ones who are willing to talk out your stresses with you and help you feel better. Sometimes the most love and compassion comes from people we do not even know in a random part of the world. Being surrounded by love and compassion is one of the greatest steps towards a greater self-image.
Self-image and self-worth go hand in hand. It is a major contributor to the before mentioned topics of mental health and stress. It is what drives our mood on a daily basis. Some say “look good, feel good” or “I’ll continue to do me no matter what anyone has to say”. The point is, to have a high self-image and self worth, you have to believe in yourself. You become what you think about.
“Unlike a mirror, which reminds us of who we really are and may have a negative effect on self-esteem if that image does not match with our ideal, Facebook can show a positive version of ourselves,” Hancock said. “We’re not saying that it’s a deceptive version of self, but it’s a positive one.” “It may be one of the reasons why Facebook has 500 million users, who spend more than 700 billion minutes per month communicating with their friends via photos, links and status updates” (Shackford, 2011)
We have a tendency to focus only on the negatives in our lives and our faults. However if we use a platform like Facebook and posted only the positive aspects of our lives for one year, we could easily see all the things we took for granted and things that made our lives awesome that year. It doesn’t have to be something grand and amazing that happens every day to feel like our life has meaning. It may seem like that sometimes online, but if you take photos and document your vacations and adventures, you’ll quickly realize you have a wonderful life as well and everyone online is no better or worse than you are.
Online life can be daunting at first glance but when you stop and think about it, everyone has to start somewhere and many are starting in the exact same position you are. We are never truly alone in this world. There will always be someone going through the same issues and hardships as you are somewhere in the world. We are all humans, and we are all important in some way, shape, and form. Social media simply provides a medium where we can effectively realize that and see how far we have actually come in life. It has endless opportunities and resources at our disposal just waiting to be explored. Whether it be stress, depression, self-worth, or any other form of life hurdles, there is a world of people out there just like you or that have came from the positions you are in now. Help and support is out there ready and waiting whenever we want it. All we need to do is simply take advantage of it all.
Friedman, M. (2015). Social Media Can Actually Make You Feel Less Stressed. [online] ELLE. Available at: http://www.elle.com/life-love/news/a26068/social-media-can-actually-make-you-feel-less-stressed/ [Accessed 3 Jan. 2018].
Novotney, A. (2014). Blogging for mental health. [online] http://www.apa.org. Available at: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/06/blogging.aspx [Accessed 30 Dec. 2017].
Shackford, S. (2011). Our Facebook walls boost self-esteem, study finds | Cornell Chronicle. [online] News.cornell.edu. Available at: http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2011/03/facebook-walls-boost-self-esteem-finds-study [Accessed 3 Jan. 2018].