The Mental Health Effects of Scrolling Instagram

The Mental Health Effects of Scrolling Instagram

I’m a chronic scroller. And I don’t want to point fingers but Instagram made me this way. I don’t even realise I’m doing it, but all of a sudden my phone is unlocked in front of me and minutes of my life have passed without my awareness of time and space. Autopilot. Detached. Tranced. Call it what you want. The bottom line is, I’m when I’m scrolling Instagram, I’m just not here.

So I’ve tried to be more aware. When I find myself scrolling without purpose, I’ve started asking myself, what am I looking for? Is it inspiration? Is it to escape and be somewhere else temporarily? Is it to draw comparison? Is this making me feel better or worse?

And I think the truth is that I’m looking for answers to a problem I can’t fully define but is often characterised by this nebulous, persistent feeling of not enough-ness. Which is ironically almost certainly exacerbated by my use of social media.

I’m looking for answers in my phone — as if an app could reveal the keys to happiness and success if only I could distill the common denominator of those I admiringly follow.

I’m not going to pretend I don’t hate myself a little right now. I feel so much shame about being unable to ‘rise above’ the negative side effects of social media. But I’m not better than the statistics. I don’t think most of us are. We might pretend to be impervious to it, but behind closed doors, when we get honest with ourselves, my guess is that far more of struggle with it than we care to admit.

Because it’s hard to compartmentalise and be grateful when everyone else’s highlight reels are just the tap of an app away. It’s hard to not be overcome with the the feeling of ‘everyone else has… why don’t I?’.

I’m telling you how I’ve been feeling because, aside from some of the shame, there is also relief in getting this off my chest. And who knows, maybe there is someone else out there who feels a little bit less alone and silly now too. I’m also telling you because I want some accountability. Scrolling is passive. It’s easy. It’s a bit of a break. But often (in my experience) it accomplishes nothing. And I’ve got shit I want to do. Including good content on social media. So there isn’t time to waste. And there are no easy answers.

Getting anything done requires intentionality. Structure. Discipline. Definitely a healthy dose of commitment. It also requires self-belief and I KNOW that is something we are highly unlikely to find in our phones.

So here’s to creating and getting shit done, being intentional and setting boundaries for ourselves.

Have a fab Saturday. It’s good to be back.


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