Liz Plosser, Editor and Chief of Women’s Health, joins Jay Shetty in this episode of ON Purpose to discuss the role media can take in affecting your mental health. Plosser’s career and life are dedicated to helping people with their health and well being. During their interview, she discusses the media’s responsibility and your responsibility in curating the content you choose to consume and how to manage your mental wellbeing in an age of social media.
Social Media has a significant influence on daily life. Does that influence take a toll on your mental health?
The Conversation about Mental Health in the Media
One in four people will face a mental health issue at some time in their life, yet conversations about mental health were not something that the mainstream media readily covered before 2010. Around that time, meditation began to gain steam. As meditation became more mainstream, it opened the door for conversations about depression, suicide, eating disorders, and anxiety. Many of these topics are still taboo today and make people feel uncomfortable. Jay Shetty states it’s time to move beyond the discomfort. When 25 percent of the population is affected by a mental health issue, someone you know is likely to be involved. Mental health issues have woven their way into the simple aspects of everyday life, affecting the girl next door, the man down the street, the lady at the checkout at the store, a friend, colleague, and loved ones. Although the media has done a better job in recent years of bringing light to mental health issues, there are still stigmas that remain. “Women's Health has always prided itself on talking about mental health and destigmatizing those conversations,” Plosser explains to Jay Shetty. “I've been at the brand for almost three years now, and we made it a section in a magazine that appears every month. We call it ‘Mind’. We talk about it on social media all the time. It shows up on our website, in our videos, on every content platform we have. We see it as an outreach where we can reach people and help and educate them.”
Education is vital when you have to deal with those who don’t believe mental health issues exist. If you can show them an article or share a link with information, it will go a long way in helping them expand their mindset in the area of mental health.
Positives of Social Media
What you decide to do with the content you absorb from social media will affect your mental health. Are you watching things that are positive and uplifting or things that are negative and harmful? How you use your social media can become a direct reflection of your thoughts and emotions. You can choose to make a difference by what you ingest and share on your Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, or other social media you decided to use. “One positive thing I've seen with social media is when people share their truth and their honesty,” Plosser explains to Jay Shetty. “You know, whether they're struggling with infertility, or depression or panic attacks. When they share that, I am so inspired by the way people rally to support them, whether it's in the comments or sharing their story. They amplify that message and reach more people. They are making it a part of everyday conversation.”
Plosser tells Jay Shetty that she receives so much positive feedback from readers of Women’s Health. Readers share stories of how they handle the COVID crises, their views on religion, their likes and dislikes in the music world, workout routines, and meditation. People are taking the time to explore different things and emotions on a media platform. “It's wonderful when they can share that,” Plosser said to Jay Shetty. One thing we do at Women’s Health is understand that there's no perfect answer that is just right for every single person. There's no cookie-cutter way to feel your best and be your best. We're all about sharing a variety of options and ideas and letting you sort of choose your adventure and explore and see what resonates with you.”
Practices for Mental Well-Being
What is your daily routine? Plosser is a big believer in the magic of mornings. How you start your day is how you will live your day. “I set my alarm for 5:17 a.m. every day,” Plosser shares with Jay Shetty. “I love making a cup of coffee and just having some quiet time to myself to caffeinate and think about the day. I love using music and playlists to set my energy and intention for the day.”
Running in the morning is another activity that Plosser enjoys. The burst of energy that she gets from it carries her through her day. Taking care of yourself first allows you to be the best you can be for others - a better parent, sibling, friend, spouse, or grandparent. When you put your well being first, the result is a better you for everyone.
Jay Shetty agrees with Plosser and believes that the morning is where you get to put on your shield. You put on your armor and get ready before you walk out into a world that is uncertain and unpredictable. If you don’t take that time to prepare yourself for the day, you spend the rest of the day trying to catch up. Another way Jay Shetty starts his morning off right is by restricting social media first thing. When you look at your phone first thing in the morning and read negative news, you've started your day on a negative note. It’s good to be informed, but be informed at the right time of day when you feel you're put together and ready to take it on.
One thing that Plosser practices daily to bring things back into focus is 5-5-5, a breathing technique. You can use it at any time - before a meeting, when things are crazy and you need to make some supper for the family, or anytime when you just need to get back to center. Plosser explains the 5-5-5 technique to Jay Shetty this way:
- Breathe in, inhaling for five full counts.
- Hold the breath for five full counts.
- Exhale for five full counts.
Do that at least once. If you have a little extra time, Plosser recommends repeating the 5-5-5 cycle over and over for several minutes at a time.
Having a daily routine can help set you up for a successful day. It can be anything that inspires, motivates, or enables you to find a sense of peace to start your day. When you are intentional about how you start your day, you are setting yourself up for success the rest of the day.
The Responsibility of the Media
The amount of content that the average adult consumes is far more significant than you would imagine. Social media, streaming platforms, television, magazines, and newspapers are just a few outlets where people get news and information. What kind of responsibility, if any, do those platforms have in terms of how they portray mental health?
“I think the media has a huge responsibility in terms of the visuals we put out into the world,” Posser explains to Jay Shetty. “At Women’s Health, we have a responsibility to show women from diverse backgrounds. So for us, that means the poets, the athletes, and the astronauts as well as actresses and models. We also take it seriously. Our responsibility is to show them as they are, no filters.”
When someone shares their story on social media about a struggle with mental health, it paves a path for others to open up and share. Hearing that someone else faces the same situation makes the person facing that same situation feel less alone. It creates a bond with that other person. Jay Shetty believes giving people a platform to share those stories is one positive that social media has created.
Your Responsibility with Media
Media used to communicate with people has become more popular than ever in the last 18 months due to the pandemic. Work meetings, school, baby showers, and even weddings are taking place on a computer screen. It is a great way to connect and see people, but how does it affect people’s mental health when so much time is spent behind a screen?
Jay Shetty states each person has a responsibility to themselves to curate their social media feeds and the content they engage in daily. You can unfollow or mute people that engage in content that upsets you. Find content that inspires you or makes you happy. The things that you see on a screen and the words you read impact your day, your week. It is your life. You get to choose what content makes you joyful on the inside. “My biggest piece of advice is to curate what you're engaging with very carefully,” Plosser tells Jay Shetty. “But I’m not saying you should only follow unicorns and rainbows. It’s okay to follow things and follow people, places, things, and brands who make you think and illuminate blind spots you didn't know you had. I think that's important and powerful and valuable.”
Plosser encourages everyone to be kind and compassionate with one another. You never know what someone else is going through. “We've talked about what we put out on social media, how we curate our image, whatever it is. There's usually a lot happening behind the scenes,” Plosser tells Jay Shetty. Remember that one in four people are dealing with a mental health problem. Be kind to one another, check-in on each other, and take care of one another.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode with Liz Plosser ON “How To Manage Your Mental Well-being in an Age of Social Media” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty. me.
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