Social media receives so much backlash for creating false images of people we idolize, quickly becoming a tool for cyberbullying and turning into a mindless distraction. While I’m guilty of spending more time than I would like to admit absentmindedly scrolling through photos on my Instagram feed, I’ve recently discovered a wide variety of pages that actually benefit my well-being and help me de-stress as I spend hours studying for exams. When there is a meaningful purpose to an Instagram page, whether it’s to make you smile or encourage a positive outlook on life, social media becomes less of a place of hatred and more of a place that students can turn to when they need a little brightness in their day.
When students are in a stressful situation, one of the most common solutions is to take a break and come back with a clear head. However, you may be in a place where getting up and excusing yourself is not the appropriate solution, especially when you’re at work or in class. This is when Instagram becomes a helpful aide. The Instagram page, @alongdustyroads, posts images from all over the world.
The colors are neutral which is proven to be calming, as bold colors tend to overstimulate the mind. You might not be able to step away from where you are, but you can visualize yourself being somewhere far away before coming back to reality. Because we are so confined to indoor spaces most of our lives, we don’t realize how much we crave adventure in the great outdoors. Seeing photos of outdoor landscapes is soothing and reminds us to slow down and appreciate the beauty around us.
Personally, talking to people and expressing my worries about the situation out loud helps me calm down and start to think clearly again. However, there are many times we can’t reach out to certain people or don’t feel as though we are ready to share what’s been stressing us. Though I think words are powerful, spoken and written, I never really like poetry until a friend recommended me to look at Morgan Harper Nichols’ Instagram page.
On @morganharpernichols you can find art and poems comprised of a couple of words. It felt like someone clearly understood what I was going through and managed to offer comfort through soothing words. Now, I have her poems hung above my desk to encourage and inspire me to push through any obstacles I may be facing. Her poems are thought-provoking and force you to reflect on the deeper meaning behind her words. She writes poems about every emotion possible, ranging from grief to joy and bravery. The concept may be broad, but you are immediately able to connect personal feelings with her words, which makes it seem like the poem was written to help you calm your mind.
Laughter is always the best medicine, especially on days when we feel completely out of it and could use a pick-me-up. It’s scientifically proven that petting animals helps lower your heart rate and make you more comfortable with your surroundings.
Drexel students are especially lucky given the university’s therapy dogs that make their rounds all over campus, usually during midterms and finals week. But when you’re cramped up in a tiny dorm and there is no dog in sight, @boopmynose comes to the rescue. About four times a day, this Instagram page posts adorable pictures of the furriest of friends with the occasional cat, horse and even duck! The page also posts nightly highlights of the dogs they posted through their Instagram stories, which is always a pleasant surprise after a long day of work or classes. It might seem weird scrolling through hundreds of dog noses, but any animal lover can relate to the joy of “booping” a dog’s cute nose. This page will be sure to bring you joy every time you come across their posts.
Instagram doesn’t need to be a mind-numbing distraction that takes away hours of your time. When you follow pages that inspire you or help lift you up, you are practicing mindfulness and relieving stress at the same time. While there are plenty more Instagram pages that can provide a change from your normal news-feed. I hope these three pages help you find peace within the chaos you may be facing as we head into Week Eight.