A new survey suggests that a tenth of Brits feel unhappy about a significant moment in their life because of social media.
Bupa Health Clinics carried out a study of 2,266 British adults, investigating the effects of social media on the way Brits feels about the major events that happen in their life. The survey was carried out to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, which is taking place this week – May 13-19.
The organisation revealed that one in 10 participants felt unhappy about a significant moment in their life as a direct result of social media. Furthermore, 13% of social media users avoid posting images to their social media accounts because they felt that their experiences and milestones didn’t look as good as those of their friends and other connections.
As well as this, the research showed that 85% of those surveyed said they felt down when returning to work after having a baby, with 70% stating they felt this way after starting their first job and 64% saying they felt low after getting a promotion at work, because they are comparing their own experiences to those of others over social media and deciding that theirs is not as good.
Dr. Arun Thiyagarajan, the medical director at Bupa Health Clinics. explained that social media can have an effect on both confidence and body image, whether this is from seeing the progress of others towards a similar goal, a celebrity’s holiday pictures.
However, Dr. Thiyagarajan notes that it is important to remember that what you see on social media is, more often than not, an “exaggerated version of reality”.
The research also noted other life milestones that left Brits feeling down when comparing them to others they see on social media include purchasing a house (55%), retirement (53%) and a big holiday (43%).
While Brits often feel low when comparing lifetime milestones on social media, the majority (86%) know that society puts too much pressure on them to show off these key milestones, with 57% of respondents believing the images uploaded by celebrities and other public figures create unrealistic expectations on what these key moments should look like.
Dr. Thiyagarajan believes that it is important to take care of both the physical and mental side of our wellbeing before, during and after these key moments and allow ourselves to enjoy them. Social media is not the be all and end all, with many people using it to portray something that may not be the case.