Social media can be a great way to connect with others and the world around us. However, we may feel pressured to create an impression online from time to time, which can cause a negative impact on our mental health.
Here’s our top tips on how to stay true to yourself online and avoid becoming fooled by the filters.
When scrolling through social media, we may see edited or filtered photos and feel as though others are living an extravagant lifestyle. It’s important to remember that social media only shows snippets and exaggerations of other people’s lives. Real life is not perfect and too much time on social media comparing ourselves with others can fool us into believing our lives are not exciting enough or that we are not attractive enough or busy enough. It can be easy to fall into the trap of doubting ourselves and feeling that others are flawless.
If we use social media in moderation, we can enjoy sharing and browsing with a healthy perspective, rather than immersing ourselves in comparison from overusing platforms. Try setting a browsing timer on your phone or device to help moderate your time. Or perhaps schedule screen-free Saturdays.
Use with intent
Some of us can start scrolling our social media feeds without realising it; becoming absorbed by other people’s accounts, videos or pages. This can bring a negative impact on our wellbeing. However, if we use social media with an intention or purpose, we are more likely to enjoy it.
Noting our bad habits with social media like scrolling for long periods of time for example, can help us recognise if we need to take a break from some platforms. Before returning to the platform, remember the reasons why you started to use it. Was it to communicate with friends and family? Or perhaps to follow an interest or hobby? Make note of this and try to stick to these intentions each time you use the platform.
It’s tempting to create a misleading impression of your life on social media, especially because of our perception of others online. However, being accepted as your true self, rather than an idealised version is honest and more important. Staying true to your own identity and values on social media makes it more enjoyable to post and share with others.
Before you post, make sure you feel good about what you are sharing. Sometimes personal posts can be easily misconstrued. Thinking of yourself and others will ensure a positive experience and perhaps avoid unnecessary feedback. If you wouldn’t express the same opinion offline among your family and friends, perhaps it is best not to post it online.
Feel in control
There should be no pressure to follow anyone or share information with anyone on social media. If a user or content makes you feel negative about yourself, unfollow or hide them. Follow those with the same interests and values as you. If you’re not enjoying a platform, it can sometimes feel like you should remain on there in case you miss out on something or someone. It’s important to remember that you can take a break from social media at any time. It is impossible to follow everything going on in the world and that’s ok. If you leave an app and take a break, the content will still remain on platforms for when you return.
If you ever feel unsafe online, all social media apps have options to report or block unwanted users or content.
Your value does not come from the number of ‘likes’ your photos receive or the number of followers you have.
If social media has a regular negative impact on your mental health, local support is available.
Advice on mental health is also available on our website and across our social media platforms:
If you feel social media negatively impacts on your self esteem, the NHS offers helpful suggestions and advice here.
For detailed information on how to stay safe online, visit:
Or for further advice visit: