Social media is often a space of negativity, which can trigger people living with mental health issues, specifically eating disorders, to revert back to unhelpful thinking patterns or self-depriving behaviors. But, what if we can transform our social media experience into one that’s positive and uplifting? The combination of social media and eating disorders doesn’t have to have a negative impact. Fortunately, there are things we can do to help make our social media experience one of hope and inspiration.
Be an Advocate for Eating Disorder Recovery on Social Media
The influence we have on others is compounded thanks to social media. So, one of the most impactful things we can do on social media is to advocate for others who are dealing with eating disorders on the world wide web. This means speaking up for those who may not be speaking up for themselves. So, if you see someone using hurtful or triggering words or images, don’t be afraid to speak up for those who may not have found help yet. For example, addressing concerns and sharing helpful information when people post negative comments about body image, weight, or size. Or, if you aren’t one that’s partial to confrontation, simply being an advocate for others struggling with eating disorders by signing petitions and spreading positive messages that may influence others to get the help they need.
Be Mindful With What You’re Saying on Social Media Platforms
When you’re online, what you post doesn’t only impact those who read or see what you publish, but it impacts you too. So, be mindful of the language you use and be sure to only publish positive content. For example, diminishing your worth by using phrases like “I’m so fat” or “look how ugly I am”, that are self-diminishing. Or, body shaming others by judging appearances online. Instead, work towards using only positive content that uplifts both you and others who may see what you post.
Be Mindful of the Photos You Post
While pictures are certainly a fun way to update others on what you’re experiencing in life and what you’re up to, they can also be negative if used inappropriately for both you and others dealing with eating disorders. For example, before and after photos of weight loss or gain can assume that a person wasn’t “worthy” of love or attention before weight loss or gain occurred. So, try to avoid posting images of yourself or others which can promote these negative connotations.
Getting Help if You’re Struggling with Social Media and Eating Disorders
In this day and age where new social media platforms are developing overnight, it’s challenging to understand what’s helpful and hurtful when it comes to social media and eating disorders. But, if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed, you can always turn off your phone, tablet, or computer and turn to what you know helps keep a positive mindset about your recovery.
If you take a step back from social media but still struggle with intrusive thoughts or self-depriving behaviors, help is always available. For those struggling, Willow Place for Women is here to support you with open arms and a community of women who are able to offer encouragement. If you or someone you love is struggling with eating disorders, reach out to us today.