In 2023, we all know social media can damage our mental health.
Considering the widespread impacts these platforms have on our sense of self, it’s no wonder that many of us subscribe to the idea that social media use can never be positive, let alone healthy.
But a new study found that viewing body positive content on Facebook can lead to better body image over time – and previous research reveals similar results.
Essentially, you really can curate your social media feeds to make yourself feel better – not worse – about your body (and potentially other aspects of your life).
You simply have to ditch the fitspo posts and follow more ‘appearance neutral’ accounts (accounts that don’t post anything to do with appearance) or those that cater to a diverse audience.
This is an example of a micro-intervention: focused yet small changes that can fit into the context of a person’s everyday life and which provide results without placing a burden on an individual (unlike, say, taking time out of the day to go to a therapy session).
How to curate your social media feeds
Social media doesn’t have to be negative.
You can make your feed a better place by curating what you see – and we have a few tips for doing just that.
It’s best to start off with an analysis of your scrolling.
‘Look at your social media feed and notice what makes you feel anything that you don’t want to, whether that’s sad, depressed, jealous, or something else,’ social media expert Rhea Freeman tells Metro.co.uk.
‘These are the accounts to mute or snooze, or unfollow completely.’
If you’re worried about offending people, remember that your settings are private and try to prioritise your own feelings in your decisions.
Rhea adds: ‘You don’t have to justify who you mute, you don’t even have to tell anyone – you don’t owe anyone your mental health.’
‘Hashtags are used by many creators as a way to categorise content,’ explains Rhea.
‘A great way to find these hashtags (particularly if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for) is to look at the hashtags some of your favourite creators have used and explore them.
‘If you find an account you like that makes you feel good, follow it.’
This can open you up to a whole world of new content – stuff that makes you feel good about who you are.
Let the algorithms do the work
The majority of social media sites use algorithms to determine what we see, whether that’s TikTok’s For You Page or Instagram Discover.
The more you interact with certain content, the more you’ll see of it – and that works in your favour.
If you’re tired of seeing posts about diets, for example, stop liking, commenting on, or sharing them.
Instead, trick the algorithm by interacting on something that sparks joy – like your favourite foods or fashion that looks great on bodies like your own.
Ensure that every post that makes you smile gets sent to a friend or double-tapped, then over time that’s what your feed will be filled with.
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