Does social media have an impact on happiness?

Social media? Everyone has either an Instagram, Facebook or Twitter account, even our parents have jumped on the social media band wagon, but why is it so important in our daily lives?

I remember when I first joined Facebook. I was in my first year of uni (2005) and my American friend introduced me to the craze that was sweeping colleges in the U.S. It was pretty similar to MySpace, which Id been using so I didn’t really get it. I signed up anyway so I could keep in contact with her when she moved back home. Over the next year I was getting constant friend requests and soon I had a few hundred friends. I then started adding my photos from nights out (from my digital camera) to my Facebook page and tagging my friends. How weird?! Gone were the days my friends and I would buy disposable cameras from boots (3 for £10) and take random pics and look forward to getting them developed. Now we would just log in to Facebook and see a bunch of drunken pics from the night before argh! When I look back at some of those pics they are cringe worthy, but great memories to look back at.

Now though, it seems people use Facebook to show off and some how try to prove their own self worth to others. I’m not sure if this is too much confidence, a lack of self confidence or just the new norm. I was one of those show offs, constant status updates, check ins and perfect photo tags. Whenever I had a free moment I would be scrolling through Facebook to see the latest gossip and photos that friends and random acquaintances had added to the news feed. Strangely enough I used to feel jealous and even down sometimes at seeing what everyone else was doing whilst I was sitting on my sofa. How odd!

When I was at one of my lowest times last year I found a book by Fern cotton ‘Happy’ a great book if you’ve not read it. She describes social media as an unhappy place and actually somewhere most people feel low where they question their own achivemenrs and compare themselves to others. Not a great community to be involved in. So I deleted my Facebook account. At first I was lost and then I just got used to it. Instead of checking my Facebook before bed I would read, or chat to my partner or watch silly YouTube videos – nothing where I would be comparing myself and competing with others.

Now that I have my business I’ve returned to the social media world for advertising and of course the yoga community. I try not to check the news feed, but I can’t help donetimes, all I see is filters on profile pictures, photos of the ‘new build houses’, photos of designer shopping bags and general boastful statuses. What are all these people searching for? Is it really true that everyone wants likes and comments, and won’t feel satisfied in their own lives without these?

There are also theories out there that all these boastful statuses and ‘happy’ photos are not the truthful state. People say that actually it’s the exact opposite. Take the picture of the beautiful smiling children, dog and parents standing in front of the log fire and we think ‘wow I want that. It’s like a family catalogue or a Christmas card’. 5 minutes after the photo has been taken the kids are screaming at each other, the dog has had a poo on the carpet and the mum is shouting at the dad to sort it out. So if this is the real truth and we all understand that deep down, why are we still posting all this crap on social media?!

I found that all that stuff really did affect my happiness and contentment in my own life as I was constantly comparing my own life to other women the same age as me on Facebook. Now that I’m back on it again it is hard keep away from those emotions even when I know the majority of the time they are fakes. My coping mechanism is to laugh and not react in a negative way that affects me. I suppose our lives are our own , and we can do as we please, but when is this over exaggerated, boastful life style going to stop? It can’t be healthy for the youngsters growing up with this stuff thinking it’s the norm.

My thoughts for today… Social media does affect contentment and general happiness. Let’s stop with the boasting about ourselves and just enjoy the here and now. Be present each day. Enjoy the smell of breakfast on a Sunday morning. Enjoy the feel and smell of rain in the autumn. Enjoy the long lingering kiss with your other half. And pick up the phone and talk to your parents, siblings and friends. Enough of the liking on social media, have a real relationship that’s not about how many likes or views you get and what filters are on your photos.


Love Christie  xxx