How to Improve Your Self-Esteem and Body Image in the Social Media Era

A smiling woman looking down at her phone does not let social media negatively affect her self-esteem and body image

Don’t allow social media to shape your concept of beauty

Key takeaways

  • We may not realize it but social media shapes our concept of beauty. As a result, social media and body image have become inseparably linked.

  • Social platforms are flooded with edited photos of models, celebrities, and non-famous people in their best light; these images can make social media users feel down about their bodies and can result in eating disorders and depression.

  • To limit social media’s negative impact on mental health, it’s important to find ways that it can positively impact self-esteem and body image.

  • Health and wellness, fitness, and food accounts can help people maintain a positive outlook.

  • By re-evaluating how you use social media, you can find body acceptance and build community and support.

No doubt about it, social media is a large part of today’s culture. Consistently scrolling through posts, however, can impact how you see yourself. Social platforms constantly expose users to thin, fit, and “idealized” body types. It’s hard not to compare yourself to peers and celebrities who seem to be perfectly fit and living their best lives.

The more time you spend looking at social media, the more likely you are to feel insecure about yourself and your body. With the right approach, however, users can avoid feeds that bring feelings of negativity; instead, they can find ways to see themselves and their bodies in a positive light.

What is body image?

Body image refers to the way you see yourself when you look in the mirror. It’s your emotional attitude, belief, and perspective of your body’s appearance and how it compares to societal standards. A negative body image can lead to unhealthy behaviors, like eating disorders.

Compare and despair

Social media is flooded with people presenting themselves in their best light and it can be difficult to avoid images and messages that make you feel bad about yourself and your body. It can become a vicious cycle for users in which they create unrealistic ideals for themselves based on what they see and the depression they feel when they can’t meet those expectations. Photoshop and filters that edit images also contribute to the illusion that everyone is “thin and perfect” on social media. Just as with magazines of the past, it’s almost certain that models’ and celebrities’ photos have been altered. And, photo editing is not only for famous people – nearly two-thirds of Americans edit their photos before posting.