The pervasiveness of social media technology in our daily lives has had both positive and negative effects on society as a whole and individuals in particular. While it allows us to remain connected to our loved ones over great distances, interact with grade school chums, and learn important information about the happenings in our global community, one has only to read about the extensive proliferation of online bullying at almost every age to understand that there can be negative outcomes when using the internet as a primary means for conducting personal and professional relationships.
Social media may also be affecting our overall wellness. Our physical, mental, and social well-being may be inadvertently linked to the ways in which we conduct our daily lives and interact with others. Wellness, the manner in which we achieve a healthy life, focuses its attention on preventative care, addressing issues of health when they present themselves, and adhering to fitness and food regimens that support our physical, mental, emotional, and social health.
How does social media affect health and wellness and what does that mean for your life? Here we’ve pulled together a few ideas for you to consider.
Social media increases our access to information.
The good news: On a positive note, social media platforms are a source of information. Whether you are interested in learning about the medicinal and healing properties of CBD oils and products or you’re trying to find a support group for your new fitness program, social media channels can help you get the data you need to make those decisions. Finding recipes to support your changing eating habits or connecting with others who are interested in improved mental health is easier with social media. Online options allow you to tailor your wellness needs to your specific lifestyle and area of interest. For many people, this can make it easier to effect a positive change in your overall health and wellness.
The warning: Misinformation and misconceptions can be copious online, even on social media platforms. Individuals who are not in the habit of checking sources or determining the validity of information may find themselves gathering inaccurate or incomplete data. Social media can also give its users the impression that what individuals post on their platforms is the complete actuality of their lives. Vulnerable individuals may not realize that some people crop and manipulate images they post to present an impression, not the reality, of how they want themselves or their lives and relationships to be perceived. For many, it is difficult to separate the reality from the misrepresentations that false images and words often presented on social media sites. As a result, the overall mental and social wellness of some can be compromised based on images and ideas that are not factual.
Social media influences our habits as consumers.
The good news: Instagram statistics indicate that 83 percent of consumers discover new products and services on Instagram. Brands are finding that social media can positively influence the shopping behavior of consumers and bridge the gap between buyers and sellers, playing a significant role at every step of the purchasing process. Buyers are learning more about the products and services before making a final purchase decision, allowing them to make better, more judicious financial decisions about where they put their money. It also allows consumers awareness of what services, products, and brands their friends and family endorse. Many consumers are also using social media outlets to access small shops, giving both brands and consumers more options for health products and wellness information. It also gives consumers an opportunity to support businesses that have philanthropic interests and perform socially conscious works.
The warning: Consumers love seeing what their favorite celebrities are eating, wearing, and doing. It’s important for people to be aware that many of their posts and probably sponsored and, even if we purchase the same beauty item or designer dessert, the outcome for our life might be drastically different than the one that is presented online. Brands have a great opportunity to increase their reach through social media platforms, and it’s important to separate the truth in their marketing strategy from the perception and impression they want to leave with their consumers before making decisions or expecting results.
Social media generates communities of like-minded individuals.
The good news: People who are looking to change long-established and unhealthy habits may find the knowledge, support, and encouragement they need in the communities that social media generates. Moving away from sedentary work habits or opting out of drive-through dinners may not be easy for many. Sharing recipes, providing positive feedback, and supporting the change of habits can help many individuals better manage their health and fitness and building an engaged community can be a lynchpin in the success of many.
The warning: Community can also create a mob mentality where people find it impossible to think independently. There are social media sites that promote misinformation as fact, and it isn’t always easy to step back from an onslaught of information to separate fact from fiction. It is also important to note that even if the social media group is truly a supportive community, everyone’s journey is going to look different. Whether it’s losing a few pounds, improving overall fitness, or coping with a chronic illness, showcasing the success of others who are achieving their goals can discourage some people from trying.
Has social media affected your perspective of health and wellness? Share your thoughts here.