Is Instagram Good for your Health? 5 reasons I say “NO”.

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@zen_drjen

Instagram scrolling has become a full time job/obsession for some people. I have cautiously used instagram to grow my following, but primarily I use it to educate and inspire people to take better care of their health. Thank you if you follow me.

For this weeks blog, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some things that may not be good for your health when it comes to instagram.

#1: Instagram can make you feel inadequate. This social media platform can be too much about “wanting what someone else has”. You may be knowingly or unknowingly in competition with others and yourself. This can create unnecessary stress on your mind and body. Now you may say that this does not bother you, but we are all humans and the effects of constantly seeing what others have and do can make you feel less than or wanting more, which breeds feelings of inadequacy. No matter how strong willed you think you are, it has some effect. This may make you feel anxious or even unhappy with your life. If you have made such a connection, then maybe it is time to “unfollow” some people who might make you feel this way and/or lessen the amount of time spent scrolling each day. I urge you to reconnect with yourself, your unique goals and stay focused on your well-being.

#2: Instagram has made people more sedentary. Instead of heading out to go to the gym or for a walk, most people have made instagram scrolling a hobby. Take a look at the daily average time you spend on instagram (found at top right of your profile page). If it is more than 30 minutes a day, I consider this excessive. Nevertheless, ask yourself if you can cut your time in half and use it to better your health and well-being. Some activities that I suggest are meditation, exercise, spending quality time with family and friends, picking up the phone and talking, going for a hike, reading, cooking healthy meals etc.

#3: Instagram can make one feel more anxious. As a culture, we have become technology obsessed. We want to be connected to the latest news, trends, videos and happenings in today’s world. This seems like a full time job. We already multi-task beyond our bodies capabilities and this can seem, for some, a chore to keep up and to be “in the know”. This can provoke feelings of anxiousness or addiction to the phone. Try taking an instagram holiday and see how you feel.

#4: Instagram scrolling can create back and neck pain. Looking down at your phone for an extended period of time can create improper posture and neck stiffness. If you suffer headaches and neck tension, you may want to consider how long you hold your head down in that position as it can be contributing to your pain.

#5: Instagram can affect your sleep. We all know the health damaging effects of not getting enough sleep. Most people like to scroll on instagram right before bed. Do you find you go to sleep later than you want because you are checking in with all your friends, celebrities and anyone else you follow? In addition, the bright screen on your phone decreases melatonin synthesis, which makes falling asleep difficult. I advise you to plan ahead and keep instagram out of the bedroom. The last thoughts before bed should be “Thank you God” not what other people are doing with their lives.

Now, I am not saying that Instagram is all bad, but I am noticing the damaging effects it can have on people when they are not conscious of their scrolling habits. I noticed some of the above effects personally and had to “check myself” to ensure that I was not affecting my health in any way. I hope this blog made you think about your instagram habits and if you find benefit in making any of the changes above, reach out and let me know.

In good health, Dr. Jen Cisternino, Naturopath

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