Please, please quit scrolling through Instagram.
Your obsession with swiping through social media may seem harmless. But it can actually be pretty damaging to your mental health. When we scroll, we tend to compare our bodies and our lives to the ones we see on screen—which can trigger some serious internal bullying. You might look at yourself in the mirror and think, “Why can’t I be as skinny as her? Why do I have cellulite and she doesn’t?” We are the biggest judges of ourselves, and it’s something we really need to get a handle on.
Most of the photos posted on Instagram from influencers are strategically staged and edited, depicting a so-called ideal body and perfect, happy life. We forget that the people we see on social media also struggle, just like we do, with self-image, relationships, stress, and anxiety.
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To remind everyone of this, some of our favorite fitness stars are speaking out and asking users to stop the comparathon. Here are tips from five kick-ass women on how to break the habit.
Fitness model Iskra Lawrence uses social media as a platform for promoting body positivity. She tells Health that mistakenly believing that there’s such a thing as an ideal body makes us super critical of our own body features and leaves us envying the way other people look. “So what if I’ve got my little rolls when I sit down,” states Lawrence. Tummy rolls are normal—just about everyone has them. These things shouldn’t make you feel negative about yourself, she says.
“Comparison is the thief of joy,” shares Ronnie Howard, health and fitness enthusiast. The perfect images we see on social media might be real, or they might be photoshopped. When we compare ourselves to others, we start to feel unworthy—and we stop seeing what makes us unique and special. “Everyone is made differently,” Howard points out. The beautiful thing in life is that there’s no one else like you, she adds.
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Nike master trainer Kirsty Godso wants us to realize that when we compare ourselves to someone else, we end up running a race that we were never meant to be in. Competing for a life that is not meant to be ours can take us away from our own personal goals. “If you spend all this time being so invested in someone else’s journey, it’s just your life that misses out,” Godso explains.
Fitness personality Katie Austin keeps it simple: Put down your phone and stop scrolling through social media! Step away from Instagram and Facebook and focus on your specific goals—any passion that you have, just go for it. “Anything that makes you feel happy will make you feel better within,” she says.
Fitness influencer and creator of the Body Love app Anna Victoria reminds herself that she’s only seeing the very best moments of someone’s life on social media, not their real lives. We’re only granted a small, controlled window into their world through a manipulated, edited image. Plus, everyone is in a different part of their life journey. “You can’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20 whether it’s in their fitness journey or just in their life,” she reminds us.