Mental Health

Fearne Cotton has this tip for anyone trying to reach a “mental utopia”

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Hollie Richardson
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Fearne Cotton

Fearne Cotton has discussed “perfect” Instagram photos that represent an illusive “mental utopia”, and how they can affect our mental health.

If you’ve found yourself scrolling through your social media feeds a lot more than usual during the pandemic, you’re not alone. 

Our phones have acted as our window to the world that we’re restricted from physically being in. And, let’s face it, not even Covid-19 can put a stop to our digital society’s online comparison culture.

Just ask Fearne Cotton, who’s just opened up about her relationship with Instagram over the last seven months. 

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The Happy Place podcaster and writer talked about the loss of control she has felt during the pandemic and how this has made her feel agitated. The one thing she’s learned she does have some has control over, however, is how she uses social media. 

Instead of engaging with “perfect” photos that seemingly represent a “mental utopia”, Cotton is focusing on following accounts that “champion courage and welcome conversation” and, ultimately, make her “happy”. 

Writing a post on Instagram this week, Cotton opened the discussion by revealing she worries about her two daughters seeing the “perfect” selfies that put an emphasis on “surface stuff”.

“First up, if that’s what floats their boat fine, this is not an attack from me but where I feel I can help out is to start a conversation about how that information is processed by our human brain,” she continued.

“Unfortunately these sorts of images lead to most of us believing, even if on a subterranean level, that if we have the poutiest lips, the most perfect hair, the peachiest arse, then we will reach some sort of mental utopia. 

“These photos offer an empty promise. They’re a contrived snapshot in time with no depth. Pretty? Sure! But helpful to us individually? I doubt it. Why do we value the surface so much more than the story?”

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Sharing advice for anyone who relates to this, she added: “Follow people that make you happy. I can give you some suggestions of people I believe should have the biggest followings on here… @samantharenke @henryfraser0 @anniejprice @howtoglitteraturd to name just a few. People who champion courage and joy and welcome conversation. 

“As I’ve said this is not an attack on anyone, merely a chance to look at what makes us feel good and what we are happy for the next generation to be influenced by. 

“Another option is to put your phone down and get in nature. I feel so happy when I’m outside, much better than I would spending an hour scrolling through photos of smooth foreheads, shiny bums and contoured cheeks. 

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She concluded: “I’m not saying I use Insta perfectly but let’s continue this conversation and work out how we can put more emphasis on the story behind the photo.”

The mental health advocate can always be relied on for great quick tips on self-care. She recently talked about embracing birthdays you might have once feared. And her simple approach to quarantine dressing convinced us all to wear something brightly coloured.

This is another one to add to the list and try out on a bad day.

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…