Social media improves body positivity, new study proves

Believing is achieving. Throughout the century, the depths of human psychology and cognitive science have proven the law of attraction to be a powerful tool to change an individual's life for good. People across the globe have used this strong technique of attraction through visualization and affirmation to attain success and abundance of health. Similarly, body positivity: having positive emotions, feelings, and thoughts regarding health is another psychological mechanism to achieve the desired health and body look. However, the rise of social media and the dawn of modern-day apps, especially Instagram and Snapchat, have made people addicted to pleasure seeking by hijacking their dopamine receptors. One of the consequences of constantly consuming social media is the increase in anxiety among the consumer.

The rise in anxiety due to excessive social consumption can harm people with deteriorated health because, while scrolling through social media, an ill-health individual may come across people flaunting their physical health, making the viewer feel inadequate about themselves. Thus, people always viewing social media physical health influencers tend to have a negative body image about themselves as they consistently compare their body image to someone with a better physical stature. From a philosophical and moral perspective, comparing yourself to others continuously lowers their confidence and self-esteem by thinking they are not good enough to the person on the internet.

Among the self-improvement guru's methods were created for the general public to overcome social media addiction and the crippling habit of comparison to others that can lower a person’s self-image about themselves. The most effective method that almost every self-improvement coach gave was to distance and isolate themselves from social media. According to human neurology, the best way to overcome an addictive habit is to remove the stimulus that triggers the destructive behaviors. Therefore, many suggest people quit social media to restore their body positivity and self-image.

However, the tides shifted when Body Image, a scientific journal research, found that only viewing social media posts regarding body- positivity for over 2 weeks can decrease dissatisfaction in females about their bodies and may reduce their tentative capacity to compare their appearance to others.

The research's main objective was to determine the effect a woman would have on themselves if they viewed body-positivity content. Will they have an increase in body positivity, or will it cause an opposite effect?

The methodology of this study involved 159 participants based in Australia from the ages of 18 to 25. The study was divided into 3 sections. In the first one, 48 women viewed posts made in a Facebook group that was an appearance-neutral group. In the second section of the study, 49 participants viewed posts in a Facebook body-positivity group. In the third section were 62 women who were not added to any group to view posts but used Facebook as they usually would. To make the study valid and reliable, all the participants were exposed to the same amount of content for 2-weeks.

The measured quantity of this study was the level of body dissatisfaction and the tendency to compare one appearance to others. After a 2-week, the study found that the participants who indulged in social media posts about body positivity for a limited amount felt much better about themselves and compared very little to other people's appearance. Furthermore, the group that viewed appearance-neutral posts, meaning the group didn’t pay attention to beauty standards, also reduced body dissatisfaction.

The study also found one exciting fact: the participants returned to their old habits of body positivity perception after 4 weeks of starting the study. This means that to have a long-lasting change, a person must stay consistent with the habit of viewing social media body-positivity and appearance posts in a controlled amount.

Read next: Protecting Your Privacy: 4 Social Media Security Risks You Need to Avoid
Previous Post Next Post