Friday, February 19, 2016

21st Century Spring Cleaning

Cleansing social media of toxicity while improving your self-esteem in the process.

Out with the old and in with the new. Spring is a time of rejuvenation and revival; a transitional season when days get longer and the sun shines brighter. It’s the perfect time to re-examine habits and create positive change. With the prominence of social media use in daily life, we are constantly bombarded by information and images. Now more than ever we need to critically evaluate how unattainable standards in media and advertising can undermine our self-esteem. Be aware of how your daily exposure to these concepts may subconsciously permeate your worldview. Your self-esteem depends on it.

Fitness Inspiration
Carefully examine how it makes you feel when you look at perfectly sculpted physiques with 5% body fat. If this motivates you to lead a healthier lifestyle, that’s great. Conversely and more commonly, it causes us to feel guilty about our own body. Internalizing these images of unattainable goals may lead us to undervalue our own fitness accomplishments. These people dedicate themselves to exercising and eating clean. For the rest of us, real life often gets in the way. 

Substitute: Replace pages focused on workout results with ones that post workout videos. This will keep you motivated to stay active and healthy rather than focusing on achieving the end result of a “perfect” body. 

The “Cool Girl”
Fashion bloggers are the envy of social media: the ultimate “cool girl” who gets to travel the world in expensive clothes, take cute pictures and attend exclusive parties. It’s important to remember that these people are essentially living, walking advertisements. Your fashion choices are subtly being influenced by the brands they are getting paid to promote. They stage hundreds of photos to get the perfect shot, often heavily editing themselves and making the product look desirable. Every picture is a carefully orchestrated product advertisement. 

Substitute: Avoid following bloggers who tag every brand they’re wearing; it’s a sign of paid advertising. Instead, seek fashion inspiration from those who style clothes in a unique way and aren’t looking to push a product or gain notoriety. 

Travel Bloggers
Apparently getting paid to promote your extensive worldwide travels is a job. As great as it is to be able to see different parts of the world over the internet, do you ever find yourself looking at these images and feeling like your life isn’t exciting enough, or that you haven’t had a “life altering experience” like these bloggers appear to be?

Substitute: Take a step back and keep in mind that travelling is their job. It isn’t the norm for everyone. Some people never leave their hometown, and that’s perfectly fine. Remind yourself of all of the other blessings in your life; don’t compare your experiences to someone else’s.

That One Facebook Friend 
We all have it. That one acquaintance from high school who somehow remains your Facebook friend. They post narrow-minded statuses and complain nonstop about mundane daily tasks. Although it might seem inconsequential, every time you see one of these irritating posts it adds negativity to your day or even makes you feel like your contrasting views aren’t valid.

Substitute: If you would avoid them in real life, you shouldn’t be social media friends. Cut the clutter and only follow people you actually care about or those who embody shared values. This goes for family members too. Just because you are related doesn’t mean you should accept their negative energy. Be confident and proud of your values!

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