I frequently hear my clients share with me about the impact of social media platforms on their mental well-being. Often it arises when they talk about the desperate feeling they have inside of not being good enough, not measuring up in some way to an ideal they see online or worse, they have created in their heads. This compare and despair cycle can be so destructive and so counterproductive in our lives. How do we handle this and support ourselves mentally to not fall prey to these unseen algorithms that lure us in and tangle us up inside?

The first step is awareness of the cause effect relationship of what you are consuming in terms of images and information and how that makes you feel. I see it a bit like mindlessly consuming junk food while watching TV. We can devour a whole bag of crisps or unhealthy snacks, but it is only afterwards that we feel the food hangover and the toll we pay for our stomach and body can be quite high. Social media apps are similar. Awareness of what we are doing is the beginning to changing and developing different behaviours. The truth is that what is depicted online is usually a buffed and glossed version of people’s real lives. It does not represent the truth and least of all, our truth.

Step away from the platforms. Eat an apple. Slowly. Go for a walk and count the number of birds or clouds or red headed people you observe. Drink some water. Create something for yourself. A Haiku. An origami swan. A sandwich. Take some time for yourself to reflect on how you may use social media to deflect uncomfortable feelings like boredom, sadness, or anger. Pick up your phone or device with intention and purpose so that mindless scrolling and swiping doesn’t chip away at your most precious asset, your sense of self.