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  • 30th August, 2021
  • by Nandini Hemnani

COVID-19 Side Effect: 'Zoom Dysmorphia'

According to reports, spending too much time on virtual platforms may influence people's self-image and cause them to rush for cosmetic treatments they may not have contemplated months before viewing a video screen, a new phenomenon known as "Zoom Dysmorphia."

Zoom has enabled people to continue living in an ever-changing world, but it may be altering how they see themselves. Before Zoom took over as the measure for valuing one's appeal, people utilised selfies and an array of picture editing applications to create filtered versions of themselves, according to a recent study of Google search trends during the pandemic. Zoom, in contrast to social media's static and filtered selfies, shows an unedited image of oneself in movement, a self-portrait that very few people are used to viewing on a regular basis.

This could have a significant impact on body dissatisfaction and the urge for cosmetic treatments. According to the researchers, the explanation for this critical self-image is that people do not see their faces speaking and showing emotions during real-life interactions, and they do not compare their faces side-by-side with others like they do on video calls. Webcams, by virtue of recording at lower focal lengths, tend to generate an overall more rounded face, wider set eyes, and larger nose. Thus, it is important for individuals to recognise the limitations of webcams and understand that they are, at best, a flawed representation of reality.

The authors turned to the facial feedback hypothesis to further examine the motivations behind this inflow of patients in the era of Zoom. According to the notion, treating sad-appearing wrinkles can help with depression by making the patient appear less unhappy to others, allowing them to feel better about themselves.

While therapy is, of course, your greatest alternative if you're suffering with Zoom Dysmorphia, there are certain things you can do right now to assist in reducing the emotional distress.

1. Acceptance

The first stage is acceptance. If you don't like something you see on camera, don't make negative thoughts about it to yourself. Don't use your phone calls to tell stories about your appearance.

2. Engage with yourself first

Alternatively, go deeper within yourself and focus on the quality of what you're doing. Make a list of other things of yourself or your life for which you are grateful.

3. Techno-logic glitch

Keep in mind that the camera may not always provide you with an appropriate image—it all relies on the quality, positioning, and lighting.

4. Communicate your way through

Whether you need to speak to a friend or therapist, or your children need to hear from you on this, you must discuss the significance of looking past looks. There's a massive stigma associated with discussing mental health, but acknowledging the problem is the first step in resolving it. Create a judgement-free environment for your children to communicate to you about their problems and get support if you are suffering.

5. Limit negative social-media interaction

The amount of time we spend on social media, where we examine edited and filtered pictures, has increased dramatically, leading to harmful comparisons. People are wired to compare themselves to others, and social media is designed to be immensely addicting. What's crucial to remember is that what you see on social media isn't real, and that restricting your time on these apps may not only help you cope with your body image issues, but it may also encourage you to engage in more real-life social connections. If your concern with your appearance is causing you problems and negatively impacting your life, you should seek help and support from available resources.

Do not use this website if you are in a life-threatening situation. Call your emergency services.