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Social media's Surprising Influences on Health Decisions

Social media's Surprising Influences on Health Decisions

HARIDHA P 135 07-Dec-2022

Which portion of your feed actually nourishes you?

All of us have undoubtedly made health-related decisions in some way based on our social media feeds, from attempting a new exercise we saw on Facebook to joining the celery juice craze on Instagram.

Because the typical person now spends more than two hours each day on social media, it seems sense that the friends and influencers we follow online influence our actual decisions about our well-being.

But how much does what we learn from a newsfeed actually influence what we do in the real world? And do these outcomes have intended positive benefits or do they have unintentional negative effects?

The advantage: Social media might inspire you to make healthy decisions.

You barely ever go through Pinterest without coming across a stunning salad or must-try smoothie, after all.

When you see pictures of nutrient-dense meals, you may receive the boost you need to choose vegetables for dinner and feel great about it.

Instagram user Rachel Fine adds, 'I like getting food ideas from other accounts. 'This has helped me increase my understanding of food and recipes.'

The articles we read on social media can encourage us to pursue our fitness objectives or give us hope for a healthier future.

Female bodybuilders' Instagram and YouTube profiles, according to Aroosha Nekonam, who battled anorexia, gave her something to strive for when she was suffering from her eating condition.

They motivated her to push through her rehabilitation so she could concentrate on physical strength. 'They offered me motivation and something to strive towards, which helped me get through the challenging days in my rehabilitation. I perceived a motive to prevail. I realized what I may become.

Cons: Social networking might lead to inflated health expectations.

While luscious Buddha bowls and Crossfit bodies might inspire us to live healthier lives, these radiant wellness trends can also have a darker side.

When the photos we see online portray perfection, we could come to believe that a balanced diet and regular exercise are unachievable or only for a select few.

According to dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade, RDN, 'social media might create the perception that making 'perfect meals' and meal planning are simple processes.' Users may become frustrated and think they aren't doing things right when it isn't, which may lead them to give up totally.

It can be stressful to follow accounts that promote diet culture's obsession with thinness or pass judgment on different food groups.

The pros and cons of social media for discussing health

One advantage is that Social networking may be a secure place to talk about health and get assistance.

The anonymity of social media really offers benefits despite criticism of its impersonal character when communicating with individuals through a screen.

An online forum can serve as a safe zone when discussing a health problem is too uncomfortable or embarrassing in person. According to Nekonam, social media was a lifesaver for her while she battled anorexia.

'I had cut off communication with my family and friends. Due to my intense anxiety and humiliation over my disease, I was avoiding social interactions. I used social media to stay in touch with the outside world.

Chronically sick Angie Ebba claims that she has discovered Facebook groups to be another platform where like-minded individuals may connect and discuss similar health issues.

These meetings, she says, 'have provided me a space to ask concerns about therapy without feeling judged.' 'Following other chronically sick people online is good because it helps the tough days not seem as alone,'

Since social interaction promotes general healthTrusted Source, this kind of emotional support may also have significant physical impacts.

The drawback: Social media can develop into a negative feedback loop.

Maximizing social media's benefits for health

We all want to be in charge of the decisions we make regarding our health, and thankfully social media is one place where we actually do.

Setting limits on how much time you spend on social media in the first place can help you build a feed that improves rather than degrades your wellbeing. According to one study, respondents reported decreased physical and emotional well-being the more Facebook they used.

Then, evaluate the influencers, friends, and groups you follow, as well as the ones you belong to. Do you find them uplifting or draining as you strive to live better? As necessary, delete or unfollow.


A passionate writer, blogger, language trainer, co-author of the book 'Irenic' and an enthusiastic learner. Interest includes travelling places and exploring.

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