As an Instagram user, scrolling through the feed can be a highly addictive experience. And as with any addiction, taking care of yourself is essential. It can be hard to tell when your relationship with Instagram is healthy, especially since social media is a big part of our culture. But if you feel your Instagram use negatively impacts your mental health and don’t want to quit cold turkey, this article can help you.
Understanding Instagram Consumption
Instagram is a photo-sharing app that allows users to post photos, add filters and effects, and share them with other users. It’s also a social network where users can connect with friends and family worldwide.
Instagram has more than a billion monthly active users worldwide, and it’s prevalent among young people who use it as an outlet for creativity or escapism. Talking about the US alone, Instagram is projected to reach 127.2 million monthly active users in the US by the end of 2023.
The Mental Health Implications
Instagram can be an excellent platform for sharing your life with others, but it’s important to remember that it’s not real life. Instagram is an edited version of reality, and while we may feel like we know someone because they post photos of themselves on social media, this isn’t always the case.
If you spend too much time on Instagram, it might be because you feel envious when looking at other people’s lives. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and depression, all mental illnesses becoming more common today than ever before. In the UK, there has been a 94% increase in the demand for university counseling services, for college students, due to too much exposure to social media.
Due to this, many individuals are filing a lawsuit against Instagram. According to TorHoerman Law, Instagram has been found to be damaging to mental health. It has been associated with problems like low self-esteem, anxiety, and eating disorders.
If you have faced mental health issues due to Instagram use, you can file an Instagram lawsuit. All you need to do is find a reliable and experienced attorney to represent you throughout the case. Once you have hired a lawyer, he or she will navigate you through the process and help collect pieces of evidence to win the lawsuit.
Social Comparison and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
Social comparison is a tendency to compare oneself with others and evaluate one’s worth based on this comparison. It can lead to anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, and FOMO.
Seeing your friend has a new job or relationship may make you feel your life is less exciting than theirs. You may then go on Instagram and see that other people also have exciting lives and careers, which only adds fuel to the fire of your insecurities. This can lead you down a dangerous path where you only compare yourself with others, which can cause extreme anxiety and even depression over time.
The Role of Likes, Validation, and Self-Worth
As a young person, you might be familiar with the feeling of being validated by others. You know your Instagram posts will get likes and comments from people who matter to you. These likes can make us feel good about ourselves, or they can make us feel bad about ourselves.
In addition to liking your photos, people may comment on them, and this is where things become complicated. In general, any feedback we receive from others will carry some emotional weight for us. For instance, if someone says something nice about someone, he or she will likely react positively.
However, it’s also possible for negative comments/critiques from others that could trigger feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt. After all, no one is perfect! If someone criticizes something about yourself, those words can sting because there’s no denying their truthfulness, especially when those words come from someone whose opinion matters most!
Strategies for Healthy Instagram Use
As a social media platform, Instagram is integral to many people’s lives. However, it can also be harmful if you’re not careful about how you use it. Americans spent almost 1,300 hours on social media in 2020. If you want to avoid the adverse effects of Instagram and maximize its benefits, you must reduce your usage. You can try these strategies:
- Take a break from Instagram for a few days or weeks, at least once every few months. Unplugging from all forms of social media is ideal but not always realistic. If taking an extended break isn’t possible, consider limiting yourself to only checking in on weekends or after work.
- Avoid using Instagram when feeling low to avoid getting sucked into an addictive cycle. This means turning off notifications so they don’t pop up whenever someone comments on one of your posts! It might seem counterintuitive at first glance but doing this will help keep things more positive overall.
Too much usage of Instagram can have negative consequences. Besides mental health, it is leading to appearance validation issues as well. Almost 1 out of 3 women admit to editing their pictures to look slim in the images on Instagram.
Develop Awareness and Set Boundaries
You must develop awareness and set boundaries to prevent the negative impact of Instagram on your life.
- Understand the role of Instagram in your life. For example, do you use social media to escape from reality? Or does it provide a sense of validation and connection with others?
- Identify your triggers: If you’re struggling with an unhealthy relationship with Instagram, knowing what makes that relationship problematic for you is essential. Are there certain times when you feel more tempted than others? Are there certain types of images or content that trigger negative feelings in addition to positive ones? These questions can help identify patterns that contribute to overuse, and once identified, these patterns can be addressed directly before they spiral out of control again.
- Set boundaries around usage: When setting boundaries around use, ensure they are realistic given your current situation while promoting positive behavior change goals such as getting more sleep or spending more time doing something else besides scrolling through Instagram feeds.
- Know when enough is enough: This comes back down to self-awareness! If things start feeling overwhelming, take time away from social media platforms until things feel less intense. When you return online, you’ll have a better perspective on what matters most now, personally and professionally.
Practice Mindful Consumption
The first step to practicing mindful consumption is to be present in the moment. It’s easy for our phones to become an extension of ourselves, but it’s important to remember that they are not us, and we are not them. You need a break from your phones occasionally, so take one!
If you feel like taking a walk around town or doing something that isn’t screen-based might help clear your mind, do that instead. You’ll get back into Instagram refreshed and ready for another round of scrolling.
Cultivate Real-Life Connections
The more you interact with people face-to-face, the more you feel connected to them and the happier you’ll be.
There are many ways you can cultivate these real-life connections:
- Make an effort to meet up with friends or family members in person. If they live far away, try Skype calls instead of texts or emails. You can also host parties at home where everyone brings something delicious to share! These events allow everyone to get together without traveling too far out of their way, and they’re fun!
- Join clubs around town that interest you, from dance classes at the YMCA or Zumba classes at a community center near your house to local theater groups and sports teams.
Knowing you’re not alone is essential if you are struggling with Instagram. Many people feel the same way and have successfully used this app. Suppose you want help in developing a healthier relationship with Instagram. In that case, many resources are available, including apps like Serenity which allow users to track their usage habits and analyze their feelings about social media use.
You can also try talking with friends or family members about how they manage their time online or seek other support, such as therapy sessions or group meetings where people share similar experiences.