“Chubby cheeks, dimpled chin, rosy lips, teeth within, curly hair, very fair, eyes are blue and lovely too,” could be an uber cool nursery poem. Don’t you remember singing it yourself? Or even singing it for your child? As an adult today, however, when I read this now, I find it fundamentally wrong.
Our prejudice for a perfect-slender figure and fair skin has been long discussed. There is no single doubt about how we give appearances a lot of preference over many things. Images can speak a thousand words, can’t they? So when I show you a perfect picture of a popular actress like Kareena Kapoor Khan, you will obviously find it appealing. A lot of apps today, especially like that of Instagram and Snapchat are actually about these images. It is about those near- faultless smiles, flawless skin, chiseled body, perfectly waxed bodies, fair faces, and luxurious lifestyles that these apps thrive on.
I must admit, I was an Instagram-addict until about 3 months ago when I realized that looking at these stellar lives that my acquaintances or friends lived made me gloomier than ever. I must clarify that it isn’t the jealousy that I was feeling (or many like me constantly feel) but a sheer yearning for that subliminal quality of life.
What studies suggest
Today, when I read about this study called ‘Status of Mind’ which was extensively researched and conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK, I can reason my utter dismay. The study, which was focussed on youths between 14-24 years of age aimed at understanding how social media networks affected their mental health. Several factors were taken into account such as body image, sleep deprivation, low self-esteem, and self-identity.
If you are someone who’s deft fingers inadvertently reach out to liking, resharing or loving Instagram posts, you may want to really reconsider it now. Because this study has found that the app wreaks your mental health like no other. Thanks to all the filtered and well-curated photographs, fairness-modified pictures, and unrealistic editing skills that each millennial posses today!
Why mental health?
Believe it or not, you are a reflection of what you feed your brain with. If I travel for two hours daily and end up seeing just the happy images of people I closely know, I am bound to curse the life I am living. Don’t get me wrong, but we are wired to think in a pattern.
So if I keep questioning the degree of imperfections in my life with these people of the virtual world, I am going to end up feeling worse than ever. It is never you v/s me but me v/s the image of myself I carry along. These social media platforms could play a catalyst in triggering negative emotions and leave you gloomy.
What is the way out?
- Well, simply put- a digital break is one thing that can surely help you. I have these cycles in a year when I go completely off social media. Whether it is for a day, ten days or a year- whatever makes you feel better, do it. Go off these sites for a while, get a breather and get back.
- You need not always be available.
- There is nothing as perfection. Understand that whatever a person puts up on these sites are filtered, edited and beautified. Moreover, the grass is always greener on the other side.
- Appreciate beauty but negate comparisons.
- Happiness need not be extravagant. Has your bestie gone on a world tour? That’s great but you need not put yourself in every person’s place there.
Remember these apps were created as a means of recreation. Very importantly, your happiness is not equal to what you can picture on-screen. It’s a simple app after all!