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Influencers: The Hidden Health Risks of Social Media & How to Protect Yourself

Social media helps connect people across the world, but it's misuse is causing a worldwide mental health crisis.

Nothing has changed our society, or the people in it, more than the advent of social media.

People the world over are more connected than ever before, which has helped improve countless lives and revolutionized the way we do just about everything.

Despite the many positive effects social media has on society, a mounting body of evidence is piling up that seems to show that with this increased connection, and a seemingly endless stream of information, our brains are taking a beating.

To find out what “too much” social media looks like, and how it can be harmful to our health, I spoke with 3 social media influencers, who use social media regularly about their experience.

Here’s what social media influencers have to say…

Lewis Howes

Inspiration & Business Influencer with 1.2 Million Followers on Instagram
Follow: @lewishowes

Too much social media is when it’s holding you back from living real life to the fullest. 

Self care means doing what you need to do to put your mental, emotional and physical health first so you are able to live with passion and have full energy in expressing your gift to others, and lifting others up.

To practice self-care, I: get enough sleep. Workout in the morning, meditate, make my bed and eat healthy throughout the day.  Doing things I love and spending time with people I care about.

Alyssa Ramos

Travel Influencer with 219,000 Followers on Instagram

Follow: @mylifesatravelmovie

The most stressful part about social media is feeling constantly pressured to produce the most epic, original content, and for me, sometimes that involves pushing your limits when it comes to over-working, over-traveling, and sometimes putting yourself in dangerous situations to get content.

Last year I felt the most negative effect of this social media pressure when I pushed myself to do back to back trips where I was in an accident in each destination four times in a row, and still didn’t stop to heal myself because I wanted to keep going to do the sponsored trips and get the content. It all resulted in serious PTSD anxiety and almost prevented me from traveling because I started fearing panic attacks while alone.

After those accidents and developing the severe PTSD and anxiety, I did everything possible to recover. I took more breaks and “days off” from constantly doing things to get content, and even stopped posting every single day, which I hadn’t done in about 5 years!

I also used my experience to help others via social media who also suffer from anxiety. I learned a lot about meditating to help calm your anxiety through people’s comments, and all the different ways people cope.

So my advice to others is to not over-work yourself too much just for posts on Instagram. Your audience isn’t going to go anywhere if you take a few days off, and on the contrary, will likely relate to you more if you talk about taking a break from social!

Kristin Addis

Travel Influencer with 120,000 Followers on Instagram

Follow: @bemytravelmuse

Social media is designed to make a scroll. They want to keep us on the application. But the way that I’ve seen things changing, from just sharing what is experienced in the moment to complete and total perfection is what has made it so hard for mental health.

Photoshopped sunsets and perfection that we see in photos just isn’t attainable in real life and we start to feel like traveling should be about getting the gram and that our real life experiences aren’t good enough. It’s too bad!

I don’t keep Facebook or Instagram on my phone anymore, only signing on with my iPad to answer comments and get off as quickly as possible. I also have an assistant help me with posting so that I don’t have to sign on to do that part. The less I can be on, the better, I have found. It’s kind of strange because the success of my Instagram depends on other people looking at it. But I just hope that my work inspires them rather than making them feel insecure.

What do you think?

Comment and share YOUR story of social media burnout. What effects did you experience? How did you overcome it? Let’s talk!

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