3 Ways To Enhance Your Social Media Experience

Social media really is an incredible thing.

It has the ability to help us stay in touch, learn things we didn't know we wanted to learn, and keep us up to date with everything that is happening all around the world, within seconds of it actually happening.

We've never been so connected, yet, for a lot of us, we've never felt so disconnected at the same time.

It all comes down to how you use it, I guess. 

We don't have any control of whats out there on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. 

For all there are benefits everywhere to being involved on these platforms, there's also the chance you might come across something that you really did not need to see or read.

The classic example being that of the very industry I make my own living within.

The Health & Fitness industry.

I personally believe that nobody out there is posting anything with the intention of causing stress or insecurity. Absolutely no way would I want to entertain that idea. However regardless of the intention, if we are in a position where it affects us negatively, and it continues to do so over time, then we perhaps need to assess how we use these potentially wonderful platforms.

Over the last few years, I've seen clients and friends struggle with accepting their own positions and accomplishments, due to the way they digest what appears on their newsfeeds and timelines. 

I've struggled with this also! I still do occasionally

We see the tiniest glimpses of what appear to be perfect lives. 

We see 15 second Instagram stories of someone appearing extremely happy & successful and begin to have doubts about our own successes. Perhaps beginning to even doubt that they merit the term "successes". 

I often feel when we're comparing our lives to that which we see in those short glimpses online, we're comparing apples & oranges.

We're comparing real life in real time, to something which perhaps had taken multiple attempts to catch the perfect moment, followed up by filters & adjustments.

It doesn't seem fair..

The Reality

A few years back, I received a message from a client in our first week of working together. I had asked for some specificity on the goals they wanted to pursue. 

What I got back was a link to an instagram bio, with the caption - "I want to look like this". It was a profile full of professional and highly edited images. Showcasing the "perfect" body, with the perfect life. 

Even my own initial motivations for weight loss attempts in the beginning, were down to some videos I had come across on Youtube. I wanted to look like those guys, and live the kind of life that the 3 minute video showcased. 

There's a high chance that if we really wanted to portray that perfect life and create angles & lighting that made us look like a lot of the pictures we see, then we could. 

According to a study from the Mental Health Foundation in 2019, 1 in 5 adults admitted to becoming worried about how their body looked, because of what they had consumed on social media. 

That's still too many. 

Does this make social media a bad thing? Absolutely not. As mentioned, it has unbelievable potential to be a great thing in our lives. 

It comes down to having the awareness to recognise when what we view on a daily basis, is having a negative effect on our own mindset and wellbeing. 

It comes down to acknowledging that what we see isn't always what is, and that it should in no way impact on how we reflect on our own journeys.

How can we ensure this is the case? 

You can start by having a look through these 3 ways to enhance your social media experience.

To do this, I like to consider the 3 E's. 

Energise. Educate. Entertain. 

When scrolling through our timelines & newsfeeds, we simply ask ourselves ; "Does the content I'm seeing do any of those things for me"

Let's take a look at them in some more detail.

1. Does It Energise Me?

Does the content we're consuming leave us feeling energised? In other words, does it leave us feeling motivated, driven, and ready to take action? 

I'm personally a sucker for motivational content. Whether it's a simple quote or a badass video with some tribal drums in the background to get me going. Social media is a great place for a little bit of a kickstart when you need some extra drive.

This requires some honesty with ourselves however. It's easy to want something to be motivational and energising, perhaps because other people find it so, or maybe we did in the past. The truth might be however that it is actually proving to be nothing more than a drain on your energy. 

If that's the case, then it will be worth reconsidering whether you want to be consuming this content everyday. 

2. Does It Educate Me?

As a personal trainer, I love the educational side of platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. 

It allows the most knowledgable and creative people out there a chance to share what they have. The opportunities to learn using these platforms are endless, regardless of what you're interested in. There's something for everyone!

So,  if you're looking to ensure you get the absolute most out of your usage of these platforms, it can help to question whether you're gaining something from it such as education and insights into the things that interest you the most, whether for work or your own personal pleasure!

3. Does It Entertain Me?

Now, this is why I love Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the rest. 

There is always something that'll keep you entertained. Sometimes too much.. 

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's logged on to check out a notification only to still be scrolling 30 minutes later.. 

It doesn't need to be serious all the time in terms of motivating and educational, sometimes it's great to scroll through and find yourself chuckling at memes or videos.

The bottom line is that we can't afford to continue to simply blame social media for the negative feelings we experience about our own weight loss journeys.

It can help to simply reassess the way we use it. The way in which we consume content and the type of content we consume. 

Try using the 3 E's next time you feel you're falling down the slippery slope of comparing your real life situation and happiness to that of which you're seeing in a single online post.

If it's not doing any of those 3 things for you, then why not consider some time away from that particular type of post, account or indeed the platform as a whole. 

Temporarily of course!

Because as mentioned, it can be an amazing tool, whether you want to learn, connect, laugh or find that little bit of extra motivation.

Check out the report from the Mental Health Foundation HERE.