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Why You Need To Go On A Visual Diet

During the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019, a very mind-simulating panel, entitled Visual Diet: We are what we see. Exploring the Relationship between Imagery & Mental Health, had as considering going on an unordinary diet.

How is social media related to mental health? Well, living in this age you are always exposed to images throughout the day. Good or bad, willingly or randomly, and across different types of media, online and offline. All this will affect your mood, how you see yourself and the world around you. Hence, if you have a poor visual diet it could have a strong impact on your mental health. Just like you are what you eat on a physical level, you are what you see when it comes to mental health.

Platforms like Instagram induce endless scrolling, a form of a black hole. Knowing that 16-24 year-olds spend more than 2 hours a day on social media, its effect on mental health is inevitable. Also, since most platforms are image-based, they tend to transcend different social and cultural backgrounds. It has become like a global club that you need to be part of to join the social circle.

Why are content creators aggravating the situation? What was once restricted to 18 year-old individuals is now accessible to 8 year-old children. Pages have been taken over by people who don’t understand how powerful a photograph can be. Retouching for instance was only in the hands of professionals back in the day. Now, it has become commercially accessible where everyone recreates and over sexualizes him or herself.

And when a capture legitimizes what “normal” is supposed to be, repeated infinitely, even if it’s completely abnormal, it will eventually influence your subliminal and conscious understanding. Which explains why many young people have a wrong perception about how they should look like and how their lives need to be. Consequently, most users think that their real selves will not bring in likes and that they should alter their image.

What are some key takeaways?
You should understand that not everything is realistic. Surround yourself with good content that improves your well being. As individuals, we need to collectively educate ourselves and rethink our own norms.

A Visual Diet seeks to promote body and mind positive imagery, encourage people to seek out, create and publish it. Remember that you have the power to curate your platforms and choose who you want to follow. We are all still toddlers in the digital world, and even adults are committing the mistakes of the youngsters by using face and body editing applications.

A final tip to recognize visual toxins? Check how a photo makes you feel afterwards, and keep in mind that humans are in need of constant nourishment from their visual environments.