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How the faces of social media influence positive vibes

Tips & tricks by Sarah Chamberlain

Social media is often associated with poor mental health. But is there a positive side to social media too? Sarah Chamberlain explores.

There’s no denying that social media influencers – often referred to as influenzers or social celebrities – get loads of bad press for the negative impact they have on our mental health. Yet so many of us hang off every word or post (guilty as charged).

So why do we love to follow them? Well, humans are naturally nosey creatures. We get invested in people’s journeys, the over-sharing of their lives and vulnerabilities, and inspiring content gives us something to relate to and builds trust.

But social media can also be a brutal, toxic, and unrealistic digital space to get caught up in if you’re not careful. Personally, I listen to my mind and pay close attention to how influencers make me feel. If their values or content switches on the negative voices in my head, I’m ready to put a sock in it with a ruthless unfollow.

I also think it’s important to be selective with the influencers I’m bringing into my online space, which I’ve found has influenced me in so many positive ways.

In the name of good mental health, this is what keeps me following and scrolling, with some words of wisdom for protection too.

A problem shared is a problem halved

Like many of us, I’ve fallen into the trap of yearning for perfection many times, following good-looking models travelling the world who constantly share the best of their lives, bodies, and relationships.

While, on the flip side, following these influencers has inspired me to go places, thoughts of comparison and anxieties also creep into my mind. In tougher times, it can all feel inauthentic, difficult to manage, and incredibly isolating.

While perfection might look good on the grid, it's not good for my mind sometimes, and that’s not why I’m in the social media game. I’m looking for a sense of community from my online platforms.

Amen to the realists, activist influencers pushing for change and against perfection, sharing the struggles and their own mental health experiences of real life. I admire any influencer using their platform to raise awareness, and more influencers than ever are getting real these days.

Influencers sharing experiences can be a great source of guidance and community, giving followers the opportunity to ask questions, reach experts, learn about issues or conditions, and get valuable support. A great example is @LouiseThomspon learning to live with PTSD.

Most importantly, influencers remind us how important sharing struggles is for dealing with mental health better, together.

Feel-good influences

Social media is one of my favourite sources of creativity. And influencers play a huge role in that.

Influencers’ unique fashion looks, make-up hacks and workout routines stop me in my scrolls. This confidence-boosting content does wonders for my motivation, empowering people to step outside their comfort zone, get creative, and make healthier decisions to boost self-esteem.

Fill your feed with healthy choices. Here are some of my favourites:

  • Fitness guru @thebodycoach doesn't just inspire my workouts – when he opens up about parenting anxieties, it shows parents just how important it is to follow your own parenting path that works for you, no one else

  • @tarawilloughby.styling provides to-die-for-style tips

  • @wearefeelgoodclub brightens up darker days with self-worth

  • @ChessieKing brings body celebration to screens everywhere, no matter what size you are

(Read tip: a must-have book by Chessie: Be your own best friend.)

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Social media detoxes are becoming more common, with many citing mental health as their main reason for believing in them. After taking a detox of her own, Sukhpreet Chana highlights three of the biggest positives she experienced.

Providing genuinely helpful insight and advice

Mental health issues like depression and anxiety can be self-destructive and leave you feeling worthless, worried, and finding no pleasure in things you enjoy. And even advice from loved ones can go in one ear and out the other.

Enter influencers. For those of us who find it hard to listen to loved ones when we’re going through a difficult time, influencers can act as a more impactful, reliable source of support and advice.

When depression took hold of a close friend, it was actually TikTok influencers who got her out of a rut, educating about the importance of positive lifestyle changes over antidepressants suggested by the doctor.

Bringing smiles and lols

Influencers can be powerful content creators for our entertainment through memes, videos, POVs, filters and much more. The best influencers are those you can relate to, not just through the struggles, but funny moments too.

When mental health can feel overwhelming and negative, focusing on content that makes you laugh or smile is important. When you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides, and other neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins too.

The endorphins act as a mild pain reliever, and the serotonin is an antidepressant, helping you fight or cope better with negative mental health symptoms. @Loveofhuns, @mrrobertmayhew and @jessandnorma are a few examples of relatable influencers who bring a grin to my face.

Remember: social media can be positive too!

There are a lot of positives to be said about the social media sensations living in our phones. But what is said about them depends on whom you choose to surround yourself with. I’m always working on reframing my mind to be inspired by influencers instead of comparing myself, but it’s an ongoing battle.

With community, creativity, and relatable entertainment at the heart of my own social values, I try to stay focused on what makes me click, how I want to show up on social platforms and swerve influencers that’ll push me down a negative hole of emotions.


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