When you look in the mirror what do you see?
Do you search for the ideal body type, only to realise you don't look like any of the people you’ve seen plastered all over magazines and movie posters?
Today's body ideal is an ever-changing image, coming at you from every magazine, TV show, movie, or scroll through social media. When you’ve been exposed to something for long enough you begin to accept it as the new norm. You can also forget to question where the diversity and representation is.
Society has unconsciously altered our mindset so drastically that we only perceive beauty as a one set model and if we don't fit it then we’re the ones expected to change.
And what about those who can’t reach this oversaturated ideal? What becomes of them?
Every year, the annoying, persistent advertisements flood in selling the exact same thing as the previous year with a ‘new and improved’ sticker. New fads, crash diets, ‘miracle’ skinny smoothies, need I go on?
Following the promotions of these unfavourable products at the start of each new year are the typical new year’s resolutions. Goals, plans to travel more, study, save, exercise, etc.
What no one prepares for, however, is when these goals don’t come to fruition.
A study by Shandong University School of Public Health Centre for Suicide Prevention Research in China back in 2013 looked at 392 suicide cases and 416 living cases to investigate the psychological strains that lead to mental health issues.
Researchers contacted two close relations for each person and they were interviewed regarding each individual’s life before they passed away. The findings revealed that when people are failing at their goals and aspirations their self-esteem is lowered due to self-blame and can result in the diagnosis of at least one or more mental health disorders due to the differences between the goals set and reality itself.
It has been shown time and again the negative effects new year’s resolutions have on people's mental health, especially considering how connected this generation is to each other through the internet. We spend more time online than ever scrolling through filtered feeds showing only the highlight reels of everyone's accomplishments. A recent report by the West Virginia Education Association suggested millennials spend up to nine hours a day on their devices online. The American Psychological Association studied one million American teenagers over the span of 20 years and the effects screen time has on people's mental health. They concluded that it causes damage to people's psychological wellbeing due to the overload of
content from their device.
It's so important to evaluate what makes you happy and brings joy in your life and what doesn't.
Ask yourself, do I follow accounts that make me compare myself and my success to others? Do I try and pretend to be someone I’m not? If so, is social media affecting my mental health negatively?
WHERE TO GET HELP
Community Mental Health Urgent Response team 0800 800 717
In an emergency, you should call 111
Lifeline (open 24/7) - 0800 543 354
Free call or text 1737 any time.
Depression Helpline (open 24/7) - 0800 111 757
Healthline (open 24/7) - 0800 611 116
Samaritans (open 24/7) - 0800 726 666