The real reason why social media might be making you feel bad
by Victoria Pitz, LPMHC
Cognitive dissonance is the feeling of discomfort one feels when your thoughts or feelings about ourselves do not align with our actions.
Social media tends to exacerbate this phenomenon at an overwhelming rate. It perpetuates the feelings of “should”. I should be having more fun, I should be doing what they’re doing, I shouldn’t be feeling the way that I feel…It can be difficult to recognize the direct damage social media does to your self-esteem because it has become so ingrained in our daily lives.
So how might social media trigger cognitive dissonance?
Perhaps you are not feeling your best lately. Things just don’t seem to be going your way; maybe you experienced something that shook you up. Life just feels awful and overwhelming right now.You scroll through social media when you're bored. Half the time you don’t even realize how long you’ve been scrolling for. But your brain is taking note:
"Wow. So-and-so went to Paris; why can’t I do that?"
"Look, this person got their dream job, but I’m still stuck in one that I hate."
"How nice, this person goes out every weekend and has a blast, here I am, feeling like cr*p."
by Janet Whyte, LCSW
It is no secret that regular exercise has numerous health benefits. Aside from the more obvious physical benefits, there are many ways in which exercise is found to improve mental health. Exercise is proven to help decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, improve the body’s ability to respond to stress, increase self-esteem, improve sleep, and improve memory. Recently, a study published in the Journal of Physiology found that six minutes of high-intensity cycling could delay the onset of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Exercise releases endorphins, or “feel-good” brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of wellbeing and therefore reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Exercise can help improve sleep, and this in turn has a positive impact on mood, attention, and memory. Additionally, mindfulness can be incorporated into your exercise routine as you pay closer attention to the feeling of your feet hitting the ground, the pace of your breathing, or the feeling of your muscles as they are working hard. When you are focused in on your body during a workout, this may help shift your focus away from any anxious thoughts.
by Caroline Rudin, LMSW MS.Ed.
These goals that we create are made with the best of intentions, we are feeling optimistic, excited even, to achieve these quests within the next three hundred sixty five days. Some people set goals to lose weight, redesign their spaces, or make all new friends to socialize with. Often, these goals are created using all-or-nothing language: I am going to lose thirty pounds. I am going to purchase all new furniture, paint, and decor. I am going to go out every single weekend. This wording leaves very little room for reality and the potentially difficulties we may encounter. What happens when this newfound hope turns into acknowledging that this goal may be out of reach?