How Does Social Media Affect Mental Health and Body Image?

Article by Michael Saul, Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors

It’s no secret that social media has infiltrated our daily lives and that we spend a large amount of time active on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

While the vast majority of the UK workforce has been asked to work from home and is  unable to leave at the weekends, we might find ourselves browsing social media more often than usual. It’s important to remember that while there are many positives associated with social media, there are also potential pitfalls.

The affect influencers and celebrities can have

With social influencers dominating our feeds and celebrities sharing much of their life online, the public are often faced with images that are heavily edited or filtered and as such, are untrue to life.

This creates a dissonance between how people are viewing themselves and how they are viewing other people online, often resulting in negative body image, despite the amount of #bodyposi accounts out there to mitigate this feeling.

Our recent research shows that 74 per cent of people back an age limit being put in place on images and videos on social media from celebrities and influencers – paid or unpaid – that promote or demonstrate the effects of cosmetic surgery or cosmetic procedures.

We also found that 52% of people think that an equivalent of #ad should be used by celebrities and influencers to declare if they have had cosmetic (surgical or non-surgical) work if they are promoting any kind of health, wellbeing or beauty treatments and products on social media.

How to use social media more mindfully

It’s easy to become overfaced by social media and constant images of ‘perfection’ that feel unattainable. Our team has created a six-step approach to using social media more mindfully, which begins with cleansing your following lists, blocking anyone who doesn’t add value to your life and muting anyone that you feel you can’t ‘officially’ unfollow for any reason.

Find some hashtags that you find inspiring to ensure that you will see content that boosts your mood. Setting time-limits for each app can be done on your device using an app, or in advanced settings. Finally, it’s ok to stop and switch off, if social media is making you feel bad and becomes a chore rather than a pleasure.

If you are looking for new body positive accounts to follow, take a look at our infographic here:

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