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March 29, 2024 41 mins

Social media is impacting our mental health in ways we are not ready or willing to acknowledge, and it's time we talk about it. In today's episode we discuss all the psychology of social media and how it is embedded in our social lives, our relationships, our beliefs, our daily routines, our news and our self worth. We break down how social media was designed to be addictive, how it captures more of our time than we think, the differences between people who have been on social media for over 10 years versus who have never been and what we can do about it. We also discuss the role of algorithms and misinformation. There is so much negativity spread online and innate need to compare ourselves to others, but I also believe we can have a positive and moderated relationship with these platforms. Listen now. 

 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
Hello everybody, and welcome back to the Psychology of Your Twenties,
the podcast where we talk through some of the big
life changes and transitions of our twenties and what they
mean for our psychology. Hello everybody, Welcome back to this show.

(00:27):
Welcome back to the podcast. New listeners, old listeners. Wherever
you are in the world, it is so great to
have you here. Back for another episode as we of
course break down the Psychology of our twenties. To begin with,
I have a new microphone. My last one broke. I
feel like a few of you noticed it in a
few of the last episodes. It was just like not

(00:48):
doing its job. It wasn't working out for me. So
I have this new one. I'm p hoping that from
here on out there's less crackling. This is a funny story,
but I recently moved house and I acced moved underneath
an international flight path. So yeah, that has been a
factor in recordings recently, whereby every time I try and

(01:10):
sit down to do an episode, suddenly there is like
a Boeing seven oh seven flying over my ceiling. This
microphone will hopefully stop that from filtering in because I
feel like I want these conversations to be nice and
peaceful and not interrupted by loud, obnoxious noises. So that
is my first update. My second update is not an update.

(01:32):
I'm just going to introduce what we're talking about today,
because today we're going to be discussing social media, arguably
one of the biggest influences in our lives and I
think society to emerge in the last ten years. And
what I really want to do today is just have
a discussion around how potentially harmful it has become. How

(01:56):
little we tend to consider its impact on our health,
on our beliefs, on our confidence, our self esteem, our relationships,
our friendships, even our careers. To an extent, it just
seems that social media has become this all consuming influence
in our lives. It's become so ubiquitous that we don't

(02:20):
really sit with the feeling and the thoughts and the
psychology behind what that might be doing to us as
a species. For so many of us, I think it's
honestly so strange to imagine a world before social media
became part of our lives. You know, when we took
pictures just for ourselves and our photo albums, and we
got our news from a newspaper and we picked our

(02:41):
restaurants from the local guidebook rather than going on TikTok.
It really is just completely changed our way of life,
and I think for all the good that it has created, yes,
we cannot deny the benefits. I think it's also time
that we start talking about the societal, cultural, and indie
visual impact of our social media consumption and how it

(03:03):
continues to dominate so much of what is important and
priceless in our life, our time, our self esteem, our
self perception, our beliefs, our understanding of the world. We
are really seeing in front of our eyes a complete
shift in how we interact with each other, how we connect,
how we date, how we establish our identity. And I

(03:25):
don't think that we think about it nearly enough, nor
do we take the time to identify when our social
media usage is taking over and perhaps even making us.

Speaker 2 (03:36):
Sick in a way. It has made me sick mentally
and then emotionally and finally physically. It all kind of
took its toll. And I think also when you come
to that point of realization of like, social media is
ruining my mental health, It is making me so tired,
so burnt out, It is turning me from a very

(03:57):
optimistic person to a negative person. What do you do
about that? How do you move forward? I feel like
you have a diagnosis and there isn't necessarily a solution.
And you might be rolling your eyes right now, thinking, well,
no one's forcing you to stay online, like just log off,
just delete your accounts. But I also think that that

(04:18):
is a lot easier said than done when we begin
to really examine how addictive these platforms have been designed
to be. There is intention behind capturing our attention, let's
not deny it. And also how you really by choosing
to not be present on social media, you kind of
lock yourself out of a lot of possibility for interaction

(04:41):
and to create friendships and to maintain friendships as well.
The only way I can kind of describe this impact,
the impact that this has had on me, is that
my brain has begun to feel very rotted, kind of
from the inside out. Something has been getting rewired in
my mind for a while, and I think there have

(05:01):
been certain things that have just made me snap recently,
certain experiences. There is this spotlight that seems to be
constantly on us on social media. Anyone can find out
anything anyone can say anything that they want with really
no repercussions, and that is just so strange. It is
a huge difference from the environment our brain and all

(05:23):
of its neurological systems originally developed and evolved in one
of limited mass group contact and small communities. You know,
we aren't meant to have this much exposure to so
many connections and be aware of so many people, and
have so many opportunities to judge and to be judged.

(05:45):
Not only do I think it really skews what we
see as normal and it promotes a sense of inadequacy
innate social comparison, whether that is to do with our bodies,
our lives, how many friends we have, our jobs. But
I also think so sometimes there is just too much
information for our brains to process, and we just experience

(06:05):
and overload. At times, everything just seems a little bit
too serious and real online when it's not. Social media
is not real. And I know it's insanely cliche to
say that, but seriously, if you were to base your
perception of reality on what you saw online, I would

(06:26):
not want to live in that world. Okay, I know
I'm sounding so pessimistic, but that has just been my experience.
As everything in my life has gotten progressively better and
more stable and positive, the one aspect that remains a
source of real frustration and sometimes pain is social media
and all the secondary emotional states and reactions that it

(06:47):
just seems to cause within me. And this has been
especially exaggerated in the past three months. And I want
to talk about it because how can we not talk
about it? As people in our twenties. Arguably this is
the most formative decade of our adult lives. How much
is social media impacting our psychology in unconscious ways? Because

(07:10):
it is more than we are probably willing to acknowledge
or confront. And what is the solution there? I don't
think I'm one to complain about something whilst also not
thinking about what comes next. What else is possible because
social media is embedded in our lives in so many ways.
I think it's kind of like alcohol or caffeine or
processed sugar. It's addictive, but we can find ways to

(07:32):
be healthier and more sustainable about our consumption whilst also
not completely limiting ourselves from some of the pleasure and
some of the good that it does give us. To
begin with, I'm going to kind of talk through my
own experience and what's kind of led me to come
to this revelation that social media is negatively impacting, perhaps ruining,

(07:54):
my mental health. I think that I never imagined that
social media was going to such a huge role in
my life when I was younger, in my teen years,
I kind of stayed away from social media. I went
I think I quit social media for like a year's
at one point. There's always kind of been this conscious

(08:15):
part of me that's recognized that it is doing things
to our brains that we are probably not fully aware of.
And then I started this podcast. When I started the show,
obviously if you have been a loyal Day one listener,
of which there are probably very few of you, because
it really was just like my parents and my friends

(08:36):
and my grandma, I really just wanted to share my
own experiences in my twenties kind of. I remember having
this thought that this kind of project would be great
for me to look back on in the future and
have like a catalog like it almost diary like entries
and voice memos of what I was experiencing at the time,

(08:57):
like a journal. And then I just got so into it.
I was so passionate about it. There was so much
to talk about. People started following. And now social media
has become a component of my career as the podcast
has become my full time job, which I'm so lucky
to be able to say. It's interesting that social media

(09:18):
becomes is hand in hand with that, even though I'm
doing something that it's completely separate from Instagram, from TikTok.
You know, I'm making a podcast. I'm talking into a
microphone about psychology and mental health. In our twenties, there
is this expectation that you need to have an online
presence to kind of make your podcast or I guess

(09:40):
like make your job and your career seem legitimate, right,
Like how can people know that you are doing good stuff?
And how can people find you if they can't find
you through the platforms that they spend their most time on,
Through Instagram, through TikTok, through x through whatever it is.
Social media is now I think an e part of

(10:01):
my job as just you know, content creation through an
audio sense. I've even had meetings where people will be like, well,
we want you to improve your numbers or we need
you to improve your online engagement before we can do
a project. With you, even though, like the project has
nearly nothing to do with my Instagram presence and my

(10:21):
follower account, Like that's on an entirely different platform I am,
like a podcast, I'm not as an influencer or a
content creator. But it just goes to show that if
you want to do anything that requires public acknowledgment for success,
you have to kind of sell your soul a little
bit to the algorithm. And it made me really obsessive.

(10:43):
It made me not want to create for myself, It
made me want to create for others, and it kind
of made me not enjoy the thing that I loved anymore,
which is podcasting, which is storytelling and information sharing through audio, right,
Like that was the main purpose from day one, and
it just felt like social media became a bigger beast

(11:07):
than I perhaps wanted it to be. On top of that,
let's just acknowledge that social media is such a time waster.
It is an absolute vacuum for our energy and our
productive hours. And I always think about this saying, how
you spend your days is how you spend your life,
and if you are spending five hours a day on

(11:29):
your phone, on your screens, that is sometimes a third
of your waking hours, a third of your life plugged
into this constant, hollow entertainment source, and I just think
that we can't help it. It's addictive. It is a
whole way of life in itself. And the thing that
makes me really realize that is when I started contemplating

(11:51):
how long I could spend without picking up my phone
when I was working. How long could I spend off
my phone before I started noticing urge to automatically pick
up and scroll for five minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes.
It was like a ten minute interruption system. You know,
even if I'd left my phone in another room whilst

(12:12):
I was working, I was like going on Facebook in
like my Google search bar. Who uses Facebook anymore? Like
there was nothing there that I needed to know. There
was nothing there that was like oppressing information source. It
was just a distraction. It was just a source of

(12:32):
a nice little dopamine hit. And it made me realize
what am I actually getting from this habitual behavior and
action of experiencing boredom or experiencing I don't know, a
bit of a rut or a mental rut and just
picking up my phone immediately. This is a question I

(12:53):
always ask myself, and I think I've posed it on
the podcast before, but could you honestly tell me five
things you've seen on social media today? Could you actually
describe to me five tiktoks that you've watched in the
last week and how did they improve your life? What
impression are these things really making? But more seriously, what

(13:16):
is it contributing? How much of what you are observing
for sometimes hours on hours a day on an end,
how much of that is actually permanent? You know what
I mean? Like? Could there is not like those hours
that you spend on social media are dead hours. To me,
they are dead hours. There is nothing that is sitting
in your permanent, long term memory that is useful that

(13:37):
you are gaining from scrolling. I will say there are
certainly good things I do follow some creators that have
had a really important impact on my life. There is
this new Zealander creator called Riley j. She posts running
content and that has really inspired me to like start
running again and being really serious about it. Keielan Montcreef.
She gives me a lot of things to contemplate. My

(13:58):
friend sal and Owl they are just like such a
positive influence online. They have great lifestyle tips, great saving tips.
I take their advice. Those are people that I think
are really worth following, and I can consciously remember things
that they've said, or questions that they've posed, or content
that they've posted that makes me stop and contemplate or
change something about how I'm living my daily life. The

(14:20):
community aspect is also brilliant.

Speaker 1 (14:22):
You know.

Speaker 2 (14:22):
I love seeing what my friends are doing who have
moved to the other side of the world without having
to wait for them to, you know, send me a
postcard every three months. There is a lot of good,
but it is this weird trade off. The trade off
is do you receive some of those those perks and
those benefits of community of inspiration If the trade off

(14:46):
is your time, which is one of the most precious
things that we have. If the trade off is your
own I guess intelligence and your capacity to have original thoughts.
The other element of this that I think we are
speaking on a lot more is just the general negativity

(15:08):
that is everywhere. At the moment I just started to
see the world as a bad place, I would be
scrolling social media, scrolling Instagram mainly, and I would go
into the comment section of reels don't do that. There
is nothing good for you in there. There is literally
nothing good for you in there. It is just like

(15:30):
a terrible health fire pit of everyone's worst thoughts and
worst feelings towards another human that they somehow feel they
have the right to express openly on their platform. There
was just so much hatred and troll accounts, and I
think I began to anticipate what the comment section was
going to say before I was even opening the comment section,

(15:53):
before I was even posting a video of my own,
you know, so organically I began adopting the negativity of
those who were already negative, without them maybe needing to
say anything, right, Like my mindset had shifted into their
mindset to be protective or preventative, to kind of anticipate
what they were going to say. But in as a
result that made me a negative person. That is like

(16:15):
talk about indoctrination. That is just like a complete mind
fucked me. You know. The hate that we have for
each other is just like actually devastating, And those words
have like a meaningful impact as someone who has like
an online presence, and I hate saying that because I
just feel like icky about it, But as someone who
does have an online presence, and it's something that obviously

(16:37):
I'm grateful for, but it's kind of like the devil.
I know, those words that people say that you might
type out and be like, I'm just gonna send that
off that has a meaningful impact on someone, that can
ruin their day, that can stick with them for months
after you have already forgotten who they are, what they posted,

(16:58):
what angered you. There are just certain people who I
see commenting on things where I'm like, I would hate
to live in your brain. I would hate to be
in there. That just seems so tiring, that just seems
so exhausting, so negative, so unhappy that you have these
thoughts that are so powerful in your head that you
can't help but share them tangibly with others. And I

(17:22):
just started to believe that, having seen all these people
and all this, you know, this like pattern of comments
and trolle accounts and whatnot, that the world was a
bad place, that the world was negative, that people were
becoming mean and cruel. Even if I can consciously step
back and say, you know, these people don't know me,
they will never know me, they have never spoken to me,

(17:43):
they don't know what thoughts I have internal feelings, what
moral dilemmas I face, the guilt that I experience at times,
the relationships that I have, the problems of my own
that I'm trying to manage. I just think that social
media gives you, like the highlight reel, of course, but
also gives you, like just the film on top of

(18:05):
the rest of life, right, like just the surface level
of everyone's lives and everyone's feelings and everyone's feelings towards
other people. It's also been so interesting comparing this to
my boyfriend, who has zero social media presence. He has
like an Instagram account he uses to follow his sisters
and me, and that's it. And it's really interesting because

(18:28):
for the last ten years, as we have, most of
us have gotten sucked into basically a social media addiction
or a social media dependence. He hasn't had that experience.
And some of the things that I've noticed is that
he experiences a lot less fomo, you know, a lot
less of the sphear of missing out. He is a
lot more secure in his opinion of himself. He is

(18:52):
on his phone a whole lot less, He procrastinates less,
He is able to focus for more extended periods of time,
he has a greater attention span compared to me. It's
almost like an observational experiment, right, It's like I've gone
through the last ten, twelve, thirteen years with social media
being part of my daily life, and he hasn't. And

(19:15):
these are the kinds of people that we've turned out
to be. And I can't help but think that it
really just truly comes down to how unplugged this man is.
You know, his screen time is often less than like
an hour or two hours each day, and that is
just so much extra time, Like when you really think
of it, that is like three additional hours, sometimes four

(19:38):
additional hours that he spends like actually looking at the
world with his eyes upwards, whereas a lot of us
are trapped in what feels like a bit of a cult, right, Like,
all my connections are built around it, slowly, my career
is tied to it. It's at times where I get
a lot of my news first. You know, if I

(19:59):
open in Instagram first thing in the morning, there will
be like the New York Times article, the variety article
of the BBC article, that will be the first thing
that I see that is giving me, like the headlines
for the day. It's integral. There is no way of
imagining what life would be without it, and yet everything
is pointing to us needing to take a step back nowadays.

(20:21):
We've gone too far. Anecdotally, I can see that we've
gone too far. Scientifically, even legally, on a global level,
we can see that this has gone too far. There
are some papers that have come out recently linking excessive
social media usage, which is over two hours a day.
I think a lot of us are hitting that it's
links that that's what they call excessive with poor mental

(20:43):
health outcomes. That means that you are more likely to
experience chronic stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms. And just recently, if
you've been watching the news, Meta, the company that obviously
owns Instagram and Facebook, they had to stand up before
Congress and say, yes, we are sorry. We know that

(21:04):
our apps are used for misinformation. We know that our
apps are used for cyber bullying that has caused people
to take their own lives. We know that our apps
have been designed to be addictive. We're sorry. Not that
that really means much, because they continue to do everything
in their power to keep you hooked. Their paychecks really
rely on your inability to say no to all the

(21:25):
temptations that they are offering. And it's not to say
that you have poor self control or poor self discipline.
Like there are entire teams of neuroscientists and data engineers
and literally sometimes even psychologists who are helping them design
systems that are addictive. You know, it is hijacking the
systems by which we experience and kind of administer and

(21:49):
process dopamine. Essentially, social media provides this endless amount of
immediate information and immediate reward in the form of attention
from others or bright li slashy colors. Information that you
see is important, and so the brain rewires itself through
this positive reinforcement, either the pleasure that we receive the

(22:09):
dopamine that we received from being entertained, or from people's likes,
people's views, people's retweets, people's reactions, and that we get
these like short bursts of hits of dopamine that actually
overall lower out sensitivity to not real dopamine, but sustained
long term kind of healthy dopamine is what I would

(22:31):
call it. Essentially, we are receiving a lot of instant
gratification from these apps, which means that we have a
lot more of this neurotransmitter available to us in our brain,
and so our brain is like, well, we have all this,
you know, we have this like drug, this happy chemical
running around in our brain. Maybe we should shut off

(22:51):
some of the receptors because we can't actually process all
of this dopamine that's running between our neurons and passing
through our synapses. So basically what that means is that
you have a lowered sensitivity. So over time, you're going
to need more hits, more content, more attention, more time
to receive that same level of pleasure that you were

(23:15):
previously getting. That's before we even include the role of
algorithms in the equation. My sister said something really interesting
to me the other day. She said, if you download TikTok,
you have about a two week period before it gets
really addictive. So is that two week period is all
you have because after that time has passed, that is

(23:36):
how long it takes for the algorithm to learn what
you like and to start feeding you all the things
and the themes and the topics that are really going
to get your brain, specifically your brain firing that are
really going to sit within a niche that had already
existed beyond social media that you obviously are going to
be attentive towards. So I tested this out. I actually

(24:00):
don't use TikTok anymore because, like I said, it's addictive.
It was really negatively impacting me. So I deleted TikTok
about two months ago, maybe a little bit more now,
But right at the start of when I did that,
I re downloaded it and I couldn't get into my account.
So I created a new account. And what started off
as like just general content and like dancing videos and

(24:22):
cooking videos and just things that everyone would kind of like.
Within two weeks, I was getting boxing content. I was
getting Sydney restaurant recommendations. I was getting Taylor Swift updates.
I was getting a book talk referenced like things from
book Talk that were like exactly matching the books that
I had just read. I was getting travel recommendations for

(24:42):
places that I'm not visiting for another three months. That
is how good they are at capturing your attention by
using your data to keep you plugged in. I know
this sounds really like suspicious and very like, I don't know,
hoaxy and strange, but there is all this evidence for

(25:04):
this occurring. And I think that as they begin to
form a monopoly over every aspect of our lives, that
monopoly also creates power. It creates power over our lives.
And I don't think that that is doing more good
than harm, at least in my own personal life. So
what do we actually do about that?

Speaker 1 (25:24):
Right?

Speaker 2 (25:24):
Like, It's one thing to complain about something, but I
think that we also need solutions. I'm going to talk
about all of that and so much more after this shortbreak. Alrighty,
So in addressing how social media is impacting our lives
and what we can do about it, I want to

(25:46):
talk about three aspects. What we can do about social
media as a source of negativity, what we can do
about social media as a time waster, and what we
can do about social media as a source of inadequate
and social comparison. So, starting at the top, what can
we do about social media as a source of negativity?

(26:06):
Number one, I would say, make sure that you are
curating an online environment that makes you feel comfortable. If
you notice that there is certain topics, certain videos that
really make you feel pretty awful, whether that is I

(26:27):
don't know, body content gym content, online trolling content, celebrity
content that is just like overtly negative. Set boundaries for
yourself that essentially instruct you when it's time to unfollow
those accounts or restrict your access to them. Something that
I like to do is when I see something where

(26:50):
I'm like, this is immediately making me frustrated and angry,
and I know that that is like part of the
technique to keep me attached is like, I'm going to
disagree with this, so I'm going to become more engaged
in what other people are saying. I immediately press like
not interested, I scroll, I like, find the little settings area,
and I go not interested, Like don't shown content from

(27:11):
this person again, just in order to kind of limit
my sense that the world is a bad place by
constantly seeing content from people who are pretty adamant or
making it seem that way. The other thing that I
say is where you see negativity, leave positivity interrupt the
thought process that is making you see everything is terrible

(27:33):
by being the good that you want to kind of
see in the world. So I've been doing this recently.
Sometimes I'll watch a video and I'll be like, all right,
I just know what the comment section is going to
look like here. I just know. I know that if
it's a woman at the gym who doesn't look like
most women at the gym, there are going to be

(27:53):
thousands of men in the comment section just like absolutely
abusing her and being so cruel. So I'm gonna make
a conscious decision to like leave a positive comment on
this video, even though I don't normally like to. You know,
I'm kind of like a prowler. Like even though I
don't normally like to like leave comments on things because
I don't know, it just feels strange, I always try
and do it with those videos, right, Like the same thing.

(28:15):
I saw this video of this girl the other day
who was like, can you notice my biggest insecurity? Like, no,
you can't, so you know, move on with your life.
And everyone in the comment section was like, oh, I
can notice it. It's this, it's that, it's your skin,
it's your face, it's your body. What the heck? And
so I just left a nice comment, and I think
that it just shows it kind of like rewires your

(28:38):
thought process whereby instead of thinking like everyone is out
there to be mean, it's like, no, that's not true,
because I'm not out here to be mean, and there
must be other people who are in the same boat.
And you see it, people start engaging with your comments
because they're looking for something in that comment section that's
going to actually match what they feel, which is that
this person is doing an amazing job, this person is beautiful,

(28:59):
this person is kind, this person does not deserve criticism. Let's,
you know, elevate those voices that are seeking to promote
a more kind, compassionate, empathetic mindset on these platforms that
whereby you know, the algorithm does promote negativity and troll

(29:19):
accounts above everything else because they capture our attention. Next,
in order to kind of address social media as a
time waster for yourself, I think there are a few
things that you need to do. Firstly, try and break
that urge to pick up your phone whenever you are
feeling bored, lonely, distracted, frustrated. See how long you can

(29:43):
hold off, See how long you can ignore or suppress
that immediate need to satisfy an itch and urge a desire.
When you do that, you're experiencing delayed gratification. We talked
about this before. Essentially, what you're doing is saying to
your brain like, hey, I actually have a conscious voice here.

(30:07):
I'm a conscious decider, a conscious actor. When it comes
to the urges that you send my way, I don't
have to act on them. I'm making it a choice
based on what I think is best. I don't have
to do what you say I need to do. You know,
it's not like an urge or it's not like a
craving for water, or a craving for food, or for

(30:28):
sleep or for safety. It's just a craving for dopamine.
It's a craving for distraction that can be ignored. And
you can hold yourself back from fulfilling that and see
how long you can do it for. Is it five minutes?
Is it for ten? Is it for an hour? And
slowly train your brain and train yourself to recognize that

(30:49):
you don't always have to give in to what you
immediately want. It's also about identifying behaviors that cause you
to look for that quick boost, right. Is it when
you are bored? Is it when you are lonely? Like
we said before, I think that knowing what the root

(31:12):
kind of trigger is for this seeking behavior, this social
media seeking behavior, is really important in limiting it. This
is where the idea of a dopamine detox often comes
in detox meaning, you know, just an opportunity to kind
of cleanse your body of a bad thing, in this case,

(31:33):
excessive social media usage. The premise of a dopamin detox
is that you reduce your brain sensitivity to dopamine by
removing that kind of like removing a behavior or a
substance or a stimuli or an experience for a period
of time so that your brain gets used to not

(31:55):
having it. Ideally, by the end of the detox, you
feel more center, you feel more balanced, less affected by
your usual dopamine triggers. However, I do think that we
should be a little bit suspicious of this. I do
think it's important to take time away, to step back,
to provide your mind and your brain with a place
for clarity and for peace that is not constantly interrupted

(32:17):
by loud music and dancing and controversy. I think a
more accurate description, though, of dopmin detox is actually just
a period of abstinence or unplugging from the world, which
just serves to minimize distraction and reliance, to kind of
show you that you can live without this thing, even
if it's hard, right, You are essentially battling a system

(32:40):
that wants to keep you addicted and plugged in. And
I think it's important to sometimes show ourselves that we
can live without that, that the world would not end,
that you can take a step back, and it might
feel hard, it might feel difficult, but that very the
very reality that it feels difficult, and then it kind

(33:00):
of feels painful in a way, feels like you're in
a state of withdrawal. The very fact that it feels
like that is probably a sign that you needed to
do it, that there was something there that was borderline unhealthy,
borderline dependent. Finally, let's address social media as a form
of inadequacy and social comparison. The very nature of social media,

(33:23):
in that it keeps us interconnected, means that we have thousands,
if not millions, of opportunities at any time of the
day to compare ourselves on any number of factors. We
can compare our bodies to people we see on our
for you page. We can compare our careers on LinkedIn.
We can compare how many friends we have on you
Know to tiktoks that we see. If people who seemingly

(33:45):
have it all how fashionable we are, how happy we are, Like,
there are just so many opportunities to look at someone
else's life and feel like you are lacking. And for
that sense of lacking, for that sense of having less
to impact how you enjoy your reality. I just want

(34:05):
you to remind yourself this is not real. Social media
is not real. Anyone can present or say anything without
it being true, without it being accurate. I think about
my own social media presence, right, you know, so many
of those photos that I posted from like ages ago,

(34:25):
or they're from like spread out over weeks, or they're
from like the one day that week that I looked nice.
I'm recording this podcast right now, and I am wearing
a wolf shirt. My hair is up in a bun
I look foul. I'm not wearing pants. I will say.
That's just a little secret. Like I'm not gonna post
this on social media, but people, I got this comment

(34:47):
from someone the other day being like, oh my god,
I'm just like so jealous of you and how many
friends you have, and I was like, that is not true,
Like that is this is just an impression. This is
your perspective. I still am someone who is like deeply
lonely at times and who deeply struggles with the sense
of permanency around my friendships. I am still someone who
struggles with how I see my body in comparison to

(35:10):
other people. But you can choose to kind of curate
what that looks like for people. It's not real. It's
not real. I also think that a really great way
to counteract this sense that it is is to well,
not even just the sense that it is real, but
the sense that what other people are showing you is
important for your life, is to spend time in nature.

(35:32):
We know that it's so healing to be outdoors, to
touch and feel and smell and see something that matters,
and to see something that is real and that you
can confirm is real. I think it really brings you
back to reality. It's a bit of a perspective shift.
So often, like we get stuck in this like the
space between our mind and our screen, and that seems

(35:55):
like the only thing that matters, and it seems like
it is a lot more important than it is when
going outside and being like, there is a whole world
outside of this, and nobody cares about what that person
is saying. Nobody cares about what that person is doing
like they may do, but is it really impacting like
all the other things that are going on in the
world that require our attention. Probably not, you know, it's

(36:19):
just this, I think an important practice to pull yourself
out of phantom reality from time to time, either through
what we said was a dopamin detox or through just
making a conscious decision to like put yourself in a
situation where you are completely unplugged outdoors, enjoying fresh air,
enjoying the ocean, enjoying the smells, the sites, the beauty

(36:42):
of nature and of your surroundings. With the social comparison thing,
I will say one more thing on that everyone who
you are comparing yourself to is also comparing themselves to
somebody else. It is this whole continuous cycle and loop
of comparison. I don't think anybody is safe from it.

(37:03):
There is not a single person out there who I
would say is active on social media and feels great
about themselves all the time. They just like to give
the impression that they are, But there are so many
sources for us to feel dissatisfied, and nobody is immune
to that. So you are only human, You are fallible.
We are all insecure. We are all battling something behind

(37:27):
the guise of our feed and what we post. Make
sure that that you don't lose sight of that. Make
sure that you are aware of the ways in which
you know everything is not as it seems, especially on
platforms where there is an incentive to make things look better,
when there is an incentive to post content that is aesthetic,

(37:48):
because it will be high performing, because it will attract people,
because it will get their attention, because that is what
they want, because that is a life that someone is
trying to sell them. All right, I think that that
is enough for me today, and I acknowledge that it
was a rant, obviously. I think that this has been
something on my mind for some time, and if you

(38:08):
follow me on Instagram, you'll see that I've just put
some things in place to make my online environment safer,
some online boundaries, some online rules. It's important to talk about.
You know, it is a really big factor and influence.
And if you can relate to this, to any aspect
of this, I believe in you. I'm proud of you
for at least getting this far where you're having like

(38:29):
conscious thoughts around something in your life that might be
unhealthy that being social media, and I get that it's
really hard. I get that it's really addictive, and that
you can really want to want. You know that one
thing is the right thing, right. You know that there
is something that you need to do for your health,
but you just can't bring yourself to do it. It's not
all your fault that you's are deliberately made to be addictive. All.

(38:51):
So many aspects of our lives are embedded in social
media right now, our careers, our social lives, our work.
So I'm rooting for you if you were in it together,
I promise, And just a reminder to be kind to people.
Be kind. If you see negativity, leave positivity. If you
want to say something, don't. You're going to feel better

(39:14):
anyways if you don't say it, if you don't ruin
somebody's day, you never know the sting that words leave.
And I think that's where I'm going to leave it.
I think that is a great final message. Be kind
to others and be really kind to yourself as well,
because you deserve to be happy and to be gentle
with yourself, and to create an environment, whether that is

(39:34):
online or in your real life, that doesn't leave you
feeling shit about the world and shit about yourself. So
thank you so much for listening. As always, if you
enjoyed this episode, please feel free to leave a five
star review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify wherever you are listening
radio app I don't know what the other ones are
wherever you are in the world. Please feel free to

(39:57):
also send me some episode suggestions. I love hearing from you.
We can't always do them all, but it is great
to hear what other people in their twenties are going
through and to then have the opportunity to look into
the psychology of those things. It is so much fun.
And I also just love hearing from you. I love
hearing from people all over the world. Who are you know?

(40:18):
Listening to this content and relating to it makes a
lot of our experiences feel quite universal. Makes me feel
less alone. You can also follow me on Instagram at
that psychology podcast. I get the irony of me saying
that after a social media episode, but I actually no
longer am like actively running that account, so feel free
to go and see what's going on there. I don't

(40:39):
really know, just kidding I do, but it would be
great to, you know, build out nice like actual positive
corner of the community, of the social media community and
as always, we will be back next week with another episode.
Until then, stay safe and be kind to yourself.
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