How social media ruins your mood and body image

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why social media ruins the mood

So many people are not aware of the dramatic impact social media can have on their moods and body image. Before i tell you how social media impacts you let me tell you first how your mind processes information.

At any point of time your mind receives information from your surroundings through its senses. If any piece of information was interpreted by the mind in a negative way then a bad mood might happen.

This is one reason why you get mood swings or unexplained bad moods all of a sudden.

Those mood changes could happen as soon as one single piece of data reaches your brain. Now the serious problem with social media sites is that they bombard you with data so fast that so many wrong pieces of information can reach your brain.

When you check Facebook or Instagram you won't usually see an image or two but you will actually scroll down fast passing by so many images, words, videos and other types of posts.

In my previous article How negative words affect your life i explained how one single negative word can have a dramatic impact on your mood and psychological state.

Now if one word can impact you that badly then how can all of those pieces of data affect you?

The problem with unconscious processing

How many times your mood changed without an apparent reason?
In my book, The ultimate guide to getting over depression i said that your mood always changes for a reason but sometimes the cause for that change is too subtle to be noticed.

If you were scrolling down your Newsfeed fast then your subconscious mind will still be capturing many of the pieces of information you are passing by. Only one wrong piece of information can negatively affect your mood, impact your body image or even make you hate your life.

The problem with unconscious processing is that so many wrong signals can be captured by your brain in few seconds and those signals might then result in serious mood changes. See also Why does my mood change throughout the day

How social media affects your body image

As soon as you see a picture of a person with a perfect body you will immediately feel bad about your body shape. And no matter how many times you tell your brain to stop comparing your body to others still that will never happen.

The 'stop comparing yourself to others' advice is a silly one because you can't really stop the flow of information to your brain and you can't help prevent many of the unconscious processing that happens once the information reaches you.

In addition to that many social networks such as Instagram include many edited and fake images that could make the person with the best body think poorly of themselves. With so many people who seem to be living a perfect life and having a perfect body your mood can easily be ruined by checking Instagram for few seconds. See also Why Instagram can ruin your mood and make you unhappy

This is exactly why social media can negatively affect your body image:

  • 1) Everyone is faking the perfect life: With many people on social networks trying to fake the perfect life and the perfect body image the possibility of feelings inferior becomes very high
  • 2) There will always be a person who is better than you: Social networks have made the world a very small place. You now don't have to be comparing yourself to your neighbor to feel bad for you might be comparing yourself to a person living in a different country.
  • 3) Photos are highly edited: In the addition to the few good looking people in reality there are so many people who are faking looks using all of the possible tools they can put their hands on. Being surrounded by such people can ruin your mood and body image in no time. See Poor body image causes

One single image can make you miserable

I am pretty sure it happened to you before that you felt really bad after checking one single image on a certain social network. This one image could let you question your level of happiness in life or even make you think that your life is miserable.

Now imagine what might happen to you when you see tens of those images in a very short period of time while checking your favorite social network?

Be very careful with social networks for they can ruin your mood, body image and even your life.

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