Saturday 1 October 2016

Mindful moment… Dig a little deeper

Published 14/08/2016 | 02:30

Endless happy shots shared on social media add strain to a relationship
Endless happy shots shared on social media add strain to a relationship

If I see one more shot of somebody's tanned legs by a pool, a cocktail glass in front of a sunset, or a happy group of friends dining al fresco under the stars, I might scream. Really!

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A couple of weeks ago I cut down my Facebook usage because the endless sharing of desperately bad news was getting me down. But now I've gone to the opposite extreme, hanging out on Instagram where I'm perusing photos of my friends' perfect holidays, perfect summer dresses, perfect Italian cappuccinos. I am mired in what psychologists call 'Instagram Envy' - that feeling that your life is not as fun and glamorous as everyone else's. So why do I keep scrolling even though it's making me miserable? Well, studies have shown that social media is highly addictive, even though it adversely affects our mental health, making us feel more insecure and alone. So what to do?

I have come upon a useful remedy: actually speak to the friends behind the pictures. I have just come off the phone with a friend who last week was posting pictures of the Tuscan hills. Turns out she spent most of the holiday fighting with her husband and the rest of it with a tummy bug. "But it looked like you were having a brilliant time," I said. "Appearances can be deceptive," she replied. Too true.

* Marianne Power is the author of helpmeblog.net

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