The Link Between Selfies and Self-Esteem

by Zena Wozniak

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Do you have as much self-esteem IRL as you do online? 

We love Instagram and with 4.2 billion “likes” on posts per day, we’re not alone. So when we recently discovered a study that showed a connection between selfies and lowered self-esteem, we reached out to clinical psychologist and registered dietitian Farah Fahad for her take.

Farah Fahad, clinical psychologist and registered dietitian - Self-Esteem - The Wellnest by HUM Nutrition

Farah Fahad’s Tips for Building Self-Esteem

Someone wise once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” And yet, we can’t help comparing ourselves. It’s human nature. Especially in the age of omnipresent social media. Beware though, research has shown that social media usage may lead to poor body image and even disordered eating. It’s hard to feel confident when you are following influencers on social media with “picture-perfect” lives that are masterfully filtered, composed, and curated.

Remember, it can take a lot of effort to get that cool and carefree shot. So much of online perfection is an illusion created by computer programmers. With just a swipe, Snapchat can sculpt your jawline, widen your eyes, and airbrush your skin. As technology progresses, it only gets more difficult to tell the difference between IRL and online only.

More than ever, it’s important to remember that beauty—and feeling good about yourself—comes from the inside out. Here are some ways you can disconnect from harmful comparisons on social media, and instead, reconnect to your inner cheerleader:

Unplug

If you’re up for it, try a 40-day social media detox.  Doing so allows you to overcome the temptation to draw comparisons between yourselves and others by focusing on the present.

Be Selective When You Do Log On  

Follow accounts with positive messages that lift you up throughout the day and make you feel supported. Need a good place to start? Just click on the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards and you’ll see a wide array of gorgeous women celebrating themselves.

Prioritize Self-Care

Take long baths, give yourself at-home facials, and when irksome situations come up, try these tips for reducing stress. Your levels of stress and your self-esteem inform each other. If your self-esteem is low, studies show that you will have a much harder time coping with stress. Alternately, if you’re stressed out, you’ll lose much-needed energy to keep your self-esteem in check. So always make sure you’re staying a few steps ahead – and when all else fails, get some sleep!

Exercise and Eat Healthfully

Ever heard of the mind-body-soul connection? That’s because if your body feels strong, your mind and soul will most often come along for the ride. Eating healthfully is different for everyone, but nutrient-rich foods are your best bet. Cut out sugar as much as you can, as it increases anxiety due to blood sugar spikes and get your energy from adrenal-fatigue supporting clean adaptogens. Exercise can help by boosting your circulation, getting oxygen pumping into your vital organs, and releasing feel-good chemicals.

Chill with People in Alignment with Your Core Values

Gravitate to where the vibes are always good. Meet up with friends to do positive activities like yoga, meditation, hiking, or going to your favorite spiritual place. You can also get a great boost from serving others. Volunteer!

Perfection does exist: It exists in who we already are. We are short, tall, curvy, thin, athletic, white, black, brown, and we are powerful no matter what we look like. Our job is not to compare ourselves, but to follow the tips above and be the healthiest and happiest versions of ourselves that we can be.

True radiance can’t come from an app. It comes from living your life focused on health, happiness, and love.


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