Social Media Effects on Health

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Whether the likes of InstagramPinterest and famous bloggers make regular appearances in your lifestyle, there's certainly no denying that social media has an impact on our mental and physical health. 

"The intriguing new science of social networks is demonstrating how personal interconnections can affect our health," writes Anthony Komaroff, M.D., the executive editor of Harvard Health Letter. "Ideas and habits that influence health for better or for worse can spread through social networks in much the same way that germs spread through communities. In social networks, though, transmission can happen even though the people may be hundreds of miles apart." In simpler terms, networkers may be making an unhealthy connection between what they stumble across on the Internet and their own reality. People may assume, for example, that because it's on Instagram it's not airbrushed, so it must be real, right? Not exactly. 

Social media effects on health: the good, the bad and the ugly

Beyond just a body image dilemma, social media diverts our attention from where we need it most, including our tasks at work and even social outings. It may seem like second nature to scroll through Instagram on a dinner date with friends or switch between Twitter and the tasks at hand, but in reality it can be damaging. So instead of letting social media get the best of what you're doing in the moment, be mindful of the situation you're in and save the networking for another time. 

But there's an advantage...

It's easy to harp on the negative effects of social media, but some say the advantages of social media outweigh the cons. While that topic is up for debate, "[m]any people have found weight-loss success and healthy communities with the help of social media," writes Lizzie Fuhr, associate fitness editor at POPSUGAR. "If you approach these sites with the right mind-set, these tools can work to your advantage." 

Let's face it, social media makes navigating the gym even easier. With all of the fitness accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, finding a workout to accomplish for free has never been easier. "Instead of clocking an hour on a recipe site searching for something (anything!) that looks good for dinner, on social media, the ideas come to you," writes the team at well+GOOD. "Searching a hashtag, getting inspired by the so-often ridiculously gorgeous photos, and seeing if you have the ingredients lying around in your fridge, is simple. Period." 


Article Categories: Health Tips
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