Social media dysmorphia - managing your mental health

In this digital age, social media has become an important part of our daily lives. While it allows us to stay connected with friends and family, share experiences, and access information, it also brings with it a new set of challenges for our mental health. One such challenge is social media dysmorphia, where people can experience negative effects on their mental well-being due to long periods of social media use. In this blog, we'll explore the impact of social media on mental health and discuss helpful ways to manage the effects.

Understanding Social Media Dysmorphia

Social media dysmorphia means that people start seeing their lives, bodies, and achievements in a distorted way because of what they see on social media. People often post only the best parts of their lives, which can make others feel like their own lives aren't good enough. This can lead to people feeling negatively about themselves and like they're not as good as others. Unrealistic beauty standards portrayed on social media can also make it harder for people with disability to feel comfortable in their own bodies.

Australian researchers have been studying the impact of social media on mental health. A study conducted by the University of New South Wales found that repeated use of social media platforms like Instagram can make young women, in particular, feel negatively about their bodies. Researchers at the University of Melbourne also found that young people who use social media a lot tend to have higher levels of anxiety and depression.

If you're interested in learning more about the impact of social media on mental health, check out the following Australian research links:

University of New South Wales:

University of Melbourne:

Managing social media dysmorphia

So, how can we manage our mental health in the era of social media? By understanding the impact social media can have on ourselves whether it is through our general mental health, body image views, or a struggle to disconnect in fear of missing out (FOMO) – we can find ways to have a healthier relationship with social media platforms that work best for us and our needs.

Here are some practical tips that can help manage social media dysmorphia:

Limit your screen time

Set boundaries around your social media usage by setting specific times to check your feeds. Avoid prolonged scrolling sessions and stick to your designated times.

Manage your feed

Be mindful of the accounts you follow. Unfollow those that don’t make you feel positive or cause any kind of negative emotions. Instead, follow accounts that promote positivity and embrace body inclusivity. These could be disability content creators and influencers or positive mental health accounts.

Practice self-love

Remind yourself that what you see on social media is often only the highlights of someone’s life. Everyone experiences ups and downs, regardless of how they portray themselves online. Practice self-love and treat yourself with kindness and compassion.

Engage in real-life activities

Take regular breaks from social media and engage in activities that bring you joy in the real world. Spend quality time with loved ones, dive into a hobby, or simply enjoy the outdoors to rejuvenate your mind and body.

Seek support

Don’t hesitate to reach out for support if you're struggling with your mental health. Whether it’s from friends, family, or a mental health professional, seeking help is a courageous step towards healing and well-being. There's no shame in asking for help when you need it.

Social media dysmorphia is a real concern in today's online world through its potential negative effect on people's mental health and on under-represented groups including people with disability. By being mindful, setting boundaries, and growing a realistic view of ourselves and others, we can lessen its impact on our mental health and grow a healthier, positive relationship with social media.