I recently acquainted myself with a new term called ‘Smiling Depression’. This term is unusually used for people who appear happy on the outside but are in actual fact not happy. Because of social media, this condition has become more prevalent in social media users.
We all know of Maslow’s hierarchy of our basic needs- self actualisation is one of the needs we have as an individual and we are constantly making efforts to craft this image that is better than the current one. We try so much that this becomes almost obsessive. As humans, we are set up with the basic instincts of self-improvement and we always somehow seem to know how to identify someone who we feel is ahead of us. This creates the an endless loop of ‘smiling depression’.
Social media is an easy and dreamy out to reality. To create the image of a person who simply wakes up fresh and rejuvenated face, has time for make-up and heads out stylish without even trying to be, but how many of us can testify it as that easy? Very few if any. We all need to realise that regardless of the amount of time we spend creating these social identities online, we are only simple humans. Others are just better at creating and embracing these images and facades on social media.
So next time you are scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook feed, realise these points before you slip into ‘smiling depression’:
- You need a time-out from social media, maybe even for the rest of the day. People are not who they are online, their image on social media is highly curated and does not always represent reality.
- Confront the negative thoughts and ask yourself ‘Where are they coming from?’. Remind yourself we all wear a mask online, no one is as happy as they appear to be on social media. Everyone has problems, even celebrities.
- If social media is your boredom killer where you scroll endlessly the whole day, logout and grab a book or download gaming app or do something that you like and you’re good at. Be more productive in real life and less online.