People confuse health for wellness.

I bet even you do.

According to PR Newswire, 42 percent of Americans are confused by the term “wellness.” For more than half of men (51 percent), wellness is nothing more than a buzzword.

To completely understand the role social media plays in wellness, we first need to recalibrate our understanding of health and wellness.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

According to the same organization, wellness is “a positive approach to living.”

In other words, wellness is the act of practicing healthy habits daily to attain better physical and mental health outcomes.

For example, let’s say you want to cut out smoking, lose weight, or improve your diet. The act of practicing healthy habits to reach these goals is regarded as WELLNESS.

So, how does social media trigger the importance of wellness? 

That is, how does social media make you see the importance of practicing healthy habits?

  1. Through a series of sob stories

Everywhere you turn on social media, there’s a report of someone living the consequences of not observing a healthy habit.

Sometimes, it’s the story of a guy who smoked ‘til he damaged his lungs. Or a celebrity whose facial plastic surgery went wrong.

Another time, it’s the video of a man whose wife filed for divorce because he can’t stop drinking. 

Other times, we hear reports of someone who contracted a sexually transmitted disease after having unprotected sex.

While these stories aren’t pleasant to the ears, they keep us on our toes regarding the importance of practicing healthy habits daily.

Once upon a time, I saw a post on Facebook about a guy who used a vape cartridge that almost cost him his life. 

Immediately when I saw the post, I forwarded it to my cousin (because I know the guy vapes anything).

I bet you’ve also seen many sob stories like this on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and other social channels.

These stories aren’t there to amuse or amaze you; they’re supposed to trigger your awareness about the importance of practicing healthy habits.

  1. Through a series of success stories

Sob stories aren’t the only thing we have on social media; we have success stories, too.

From picture proof of skinny guys who turned bulky to video proof of “Fat Joes” who became bodybuilders, there are a ton of success stories on social media to motivate anyone to take their wellness seriously.

How can a really skinny guy get buff? - Quora

Picture this.

Imagine you’re the skinny guy in the image above.

Then one day, while scrolling through IG, you find a documentary about a guy that once looked the way you look. But now, he’s as bulky as the guy in the other half of the image.

And he claims his transformation is the result of a healthy diet, proper sleep, and working out.

Chances are that you too will want to give those a try.

In other words, social media has made you realize the importance of observing fitness habits.

Seeing a Twitter thread about how a once-obese person transformed their outlook can inspire an obese reader to practice better nutritional habits.

Seeing posts about how people manage headaches and pains can show others living with the same conditions how to break free.

A Facebook post about how a busy person uses time management apps to improve their general well-being can inspire other busy people to lead a healthy life.

The same can be said of someone suffering from addiction, malnutrition, depression, mental disorders, and other common health conditions.

Summarily, health and wellness success stories on social media can help people see reasons to practice better habits.

  1. Through a series of challenges

Watching people challenge one another on social media can encourage you to practice better health routines yourself.

For example, imagine you’re the type who’s always too lazy to work out. 

Then one night, you log in to Twitter and find people challenging one another to simple workout duels like “7 days of weight lifting.” 

You come back later to see how these guys have transformed in just a week.

I Challenge You GIFs | Tenor

Even though you’ve been reluctant to work out all this time, you’ll definitely feel the urge to hop on the train.

Physical fitness challenges aren’t the only social media contest ideas around today.

You can also find people challenging one another to:

  • Mental contests: Quizzes, problem-solving, creativity support, intellectual wellness, etc.
  • Dietary exercises: Vegan diet, keto diet, pescatarian diet, paleo diet, raw food diet, carnivore diet, etc.
  • Spiritual exercises: Meditation, volunteer work, caring, forgiving, etc.

Watching and following these sorts of challenges – even if you don’t take part – can encourage you to develop the right wellness habits.

  1. Through a series of encouraging health-related infographics

Many a time, we see health-related infographics like these on Facebook, Twitter, or IG.

Source: Venngage

Look familiar? 

In most cases, the creators of this content use healthcare software to collect vital health and wellness data. 

Other times, they go the extra mile of sampling people’s opinions, taking surveys, and conducting research.

Then, with the aid of a free infographic maker like Venngage, they turn all the data they’ve gathered into informative infographics, which they share across social media channels.

These kinds of content serve the following purposes on social media:

  • They inform people of the areas where their health is lagging behind
  • They keep people on their toes health-wise
  • They deliver helpful health-related tips
  • They introduce people to new systems of healthy living
  • Etc.

In short, they make people see where they are on the health front and give them reasons to lead a healthy life and practice better health routines.

By the way, you too can learn how to create an infographic like the ones above here.

  1. Through nasty body-shaming

Unless you’ve become pretty thick-skinned, there’s no way you’ll post a picture of your stretch-marked skin, pot-belly, dandruff-ridden hair, or bushy armpits on Instagram.

There is a certain standard expected of everyone on social media. 

When our bodies fail to match these unrealistic beauty standards, we become a laughingstock.

While social media body-shaming is, no doubt, a terrible act, it has some advantages in that it keeps everyone on their toes to observe healthy habits and lifestyles.

For example, knowing full well the threats you face online, you don’t need anyone telling you to shave your armpits, care for your skin and teeth, or observe a well-balanced diet.

You know that failure to do so will affect your “body image.” 

And when you make a post on social media with a less-than-impressive body image, you’re likely to get some cruel feedback and nasty comments.

For this reason, social media has placed everyone on a subconscious alert to look their best or risk getting roasted.

Author Bio: Uday Tank is a serial entrepreneur and content marketing leader. He has a wide variety of interests and enjoys writing, including marketing, productivity, business, health, diversity, and management.