April 4, 2020
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Vital Signs: Tips to disconnect from an image-obsessed world

By Victoria Giardina
Columnist

You know that voice inside your head that seems to pop up at all the wrong times — when you’re in front of a mirror, out to dinner with a group of people or before taking a risk? Yeah, the voice that can berate your self-confidence and your mental health all in one shot. 

When comparing yourself to other people, you might hear that voice tell you you’re not measuring up. In fact, a 2016 research study estimates that over half of college students have low self-esteem, most of which stems from comparison to others. Avoid comparing your life to what you see in TV shows, magazines and on social media with these tips:

Read a Good Book

You may wonder, “What? Why should I read more when I am a full-time college student with a pile of textbooks on my desk?” And that is a totally valid thought. However, reading slows you down and prevents you from going on a downward spiral to feelings of self-doubt and overthinking. Immersing yourself into a story — whether it’s nonfiction, a thriller or poetry — can be the compass that will navigate you to formulate your own ideas on life and creativity instead of succumbing to the ways of someone else.

Too much screen time can be toxic for your mental health. (Flickr)

Use the One-Hour Rule

Social media isn’t all bad, but how many mornings and nights have you spent mindlessly scrolling on Instagram and Twitter before starting your day or drifting off to sleep? We often forget that these platforms are the “highlight reel” — the somewhat fabricated version of what we want to present to hundreds of followers. 

We also often forget that beautiful models posing in front of a paid background may also be getting paid up to $10,000 to promote a product (one that they may not even like!). Opt to spend the first hour when you rise and shine to be phone-free, and put away the screens one hour before bed. You’ll be surprised by the silence you hear — the voice of comparison going mute.

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