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Jaime Filer graduated with a kinesiology degree from York University, where she was a varsity athlete. She’s also a former competitive bodybuilder who competed in drug-tested events throughout North America. If something new is trending in fitness, chances are Jaime’s already tried it!
Allow me to introduce myself, as this is my inaugural column in MUSCLE INSIDER! I’m a tenured personal trainer, an avid competitive CrossFitter, a sometime fitness model, and an absolute die-hard fan of bodybuilding. I have my bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and have been to 10 Mr. Olympia contests. With that, I’m pretty sure we’ve taken care of credentials, and I’ve proven that I know a thing or two about the industry. Needless to say, I’ve been around the block a time or two.
I debated for weeks in my head regarding what to write about in my first column. I have to impress you, the reader, of course. I knew it had to be fitness related, but it also had to be something unique, relevant, and maybe even a little controversial. With that, I decided to make my column about social media and its uses (and abuses) in the twenty-first century. As the social media coordinator for MUSCLE INSIDER, I have a pretty good grasp of social media trends and some psychological tendencies associated with them.
The first issue I’d like to discuss is the relationship between serration/dopamine (essentially, our happiness hormones), our self-worth, and our desire to be well received online. Wrapping your self-esteem into your follower count is a big mistake. Defining your level of confidence by your level of engagement is a huge mistake—they should be completely independent of one another. Allow me to expand; I’ve had the most wonderful friendships emerge from the ‘Gram. Social media has allowed us to connect with a world outside our own in a way we’ve never been able to before. We have access to people and networks all over the world with the click of an app. With that said, I’ve also had it come between some relationships and completely destroy others. We have to remember that a like or follow is not a reflection of who you are as a person or how good you are as a person.
As a function of our society and social media in the year 2017, we’ve conditioned ourselves to release dopamine and serotonin in response to online engagement. In the same way people smile and laugh at babies and puppies, we’ve started to smile with the increase in likes and shares of a photo or post. It’s sad, but it’s true. We get likes and comments, and actually change the neurochemistry of our brains. We get a double-tap, and it sets off the neurotransmitters in our bodies responsible for happiness. How insane is that? I could go more in depth about the hows and whys of the psychology and physiology, but I’m limited in words. So going forward, I challenge you to stay off social media but in the interest of biology: in order to rewire those transmitters, and let things such as human connection, puppies, thunderstorms, and love bring our happy hormones back.
So instead of wrapping your self-esteem up in Instagram, go wrap yourself in your partner’s arms. Or get wrapped up in conversation over coffee with your best friend. Don’t let external likes determine internal love.