Hello you, how are you doing today? I am doing well, still in the business of spreading happiness through dance and movement.

I have written about depression long ago on this platform, but today I want to briefly talk about the negative effects of social media and how we can protect our mental and emotional health. Now I know we have all felt some level of self worthlessness (pardon my choice of words) while scrolling through Instagram, snapchat and the likes. You know, you see those glamorous destination holiday photos of people you've never met, but feel you know and you look at your life and wondering why you can't even afford a trip within Nigeria! Well, if you have never felt this way, I applaud you, you must have your life all together!

We are no doubt in the social media age, everyone's on it. I have been in a certain gathering where some ladies were proudly talking about how many Instagram followers they had. At the time, I had about 400, (which is a lot, if you think of a room filled with 400 people), but most of these ladies had over 10,000 followers and they looked at me like I should have been ashamed to speak (like "sorry you can't sit with us" LOL).
Today, I have a little over 3000 followers on Instagram and even that is nothing, going by the trend. However, if I had 3000 participants in my weekly fitness classes, I would be overwhelmed and would need to hire at least three instructors! 

I have a love-hate feeling for social media. I love it because I get to promote my business for free on it, I hate it because you get to see people, but do not really see or know them! It creates a false sense of belonging. It promotes self, self and more self. If one is not careful, you get consumed by social media and begin to seek validation from the number of likes, comments,  followers, etc. Example of a false sense of belonging is this: Have you ever met someone you follow on Instagram and they completely shunned you, and you go off feeling bad because you've been steadily dropping nice comments on the gram and diligently following their stories so much that you felt you knew the person?

So why do people go all out to impress on social media. It makes them feel good and gives them self worth "in quote". You log on and you see 100, 200, 1000, 2000 likes and it makes you feel so damn good! But what happens when its the reverse? What happens when you post that hot bikini picture and it does not generate as many likes as you hoped? or you put that cute little picture of your baby (or so you thought) and no one makes any cute comments, but rather you get someone make a nasty comment abut the baby's nose? A lot of us may say, "I don't care" or the most popular phrase "haters", but the truth is, if you care so much about the likes and flattering comments and are constantly seeking validation from your anonymous 30,000 followers, subconsciously you would also care about receiving fewer likes or disapproving comments. 

The question to ask  is why are you on social media? what's the purpose? For me, if I had no business to promote, I would not be on a platform like Instagram. Facebook is just fine. Are you like me and using it to promote a business, are you on it to search for businesses?, or are you on it to keep tabs with friends (even though I do not consider this the best way to keep tabs with friends, I would any day prefer a phone call from a friend than watching his/her Snapchat stories)

So now, you have identified why you are on social media. How then do you protect your self? Just because you were in school together, does not mean you have to follow. We are all at different points in life and sometimes you may be at a low point and at such times, I think its best to unfollow or better still, stay away from social media while you try to sort yourself out. For example, you are financially unstable and trying to get by, seeing pictures of others having a luxury holiday, or unravelling brand new cars would do you no good. Get of the gram and sort yourself out! If you are promoting a business, put up your post and sign off. 

Another tip is to time yourself. Social media can be consuming. Scrolling through those pictures and videos. Allot a time to go through your social media accounts. This helps you use your time more positively and also allows you to allot more time to other more meaningful things in life.

Go celibate! Pardon my choice of words again. I call this a social media fast. Take some time off social media and find time for the real people in your life, you know like family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc.  Whenever you feel that urge to post an Instagram story, ask yourself, is there a friend I can call to share this story with? That friend would probably appreciate the chat much more than all of your 100,000 followers!

In summary, you have to keep reminding yourself that Social media is a virtual world. Never mistake it for your reality. Just because a person follows you does not mean they care about you. You could die the next day and 99.9% of your followers would care less, the best you'll get is an "RIP" comment. If you find yourself constantly being depressed by what you see on social media, I have one advise for you: "GET OFF IT."  Your emotional and mental health is more important!

Be stable!

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