Fashion and beauty magazines normally enter our lives when we are just teenagers. We thumb through the pages trying to work out how on earth we apply makeup, what style of clothes we should be wearing and how to figure out our love interests that walk the earth. Then as we get older, gossip magazines start to catch our eye and we're hooked for life.
Entertainment value aside, fashion and gossip magazines have a tendency to make us feel quite inadequate. Their excessive use of photoshop, displaying models with unrealistic BMI's and exposés of celebrity cellulite can put us in a really low mood.
A study carried out at Bradley University reported that after spending just three minutes looking at a fashion magazine caused women to feel depressed, guilty and shameful. There are many psychological issues women can have forced upon them by this form of media and below we detail some of the worst.
15 Body Dysmorphia
Body dysmorphia disorder (BDD) has been an illness which has just come to light over the past few years. The effects are a person believing there is a problem with their body when there really is no problem at all. BBC reported earlier this year that 1 in every 50 of us suffers from the disorder. Fashion magazines were blamed for their excessive use of skinny models as the main contributor to the illness.
Around 15% of sufferers actually commit to cosmetic surgery instead of getting the appropriate mental help they need. Mr Simon Whitey, a British consultant surgeon said, "BDD is extremely complicated and surgeons will never be experts. However, you get a sixth sense that something is not right if you ask the right questions."
14 Lack Of Confidence
High-end magazines portray a life of grandeur which is unattainable for the majority of people. This can often lead people to feeling inadequate which causes them to withdraw socially and suffer from low confidence. When you believe you're not as beautiful as the models in magazines, just remember that all these images are heavily manipulated to appear that way.
Skin is smoothed out to appear flawless, the size of the hips is readjusted to a ratio that might not be even physically possible, hair is transformed to look glossier and the thighs are edited to appear slimmer. Nobody is passing you in the street, checking if you have a thigh gap so there is no need to lock yourself away indoors.
Beyonce featured a famous speech from feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her hit single Flawless. She said, "We raise girls to see each other as competitors. Not for jobs or for accomplishments, which can be a good thing, but for the attention of men." If you flick through any magazine, you won't find many supportive messages celebrating the sisterhood.
Most of the pages are dedicated to body shaming other women and can make personally crucifying each other look like standard behaviour. Jealousy is taking another person's achievement and believing this is a personal attack aimed at yourself. Instead of comparing ourselves to each other, we should be focusing inwards and celebrate our own individuality.
Gossip is damaging, slanderous and emotionally draining - but it can help to sell thousands of magazines a week. We can sometimes believe that gossiping about each other is standard behaviour and this can spill over into our personal or professional lives. Talking about others behind their backs can cause serious rifts within the work place and may even land you in a position of conflict.
Author Peggy Drexler wrote in Psychology Today magazine, "The weight of both research and the experiences of those who have been its targets - says clearly that gossip can hurt relationships, create a climate of fear and resentment, all of which feeds stress like humid air feeds a storm. And stress, multiple studies show, is one of the leading causes of a host of workplace issues - from a decline in productivity to a rise in illness and absenteeism."
Burying our heads in beauty and gossip magazines transports us into a world of narcism and self-absorption. We want only the best fashion on our backs so we can pose, pout and post online all about it. Instead of social media being a record of our lives, it is now changing us entirely and we can sometimes feel powerless to stop it.
Celebrities we follow in beauty and fashion magazines will have a flawless Instagram account. There are many young and impressionable women who try to achieve the same picture perfect images. We can spend hours with a camera in our face trying to perfect the ultimate selfie - it's really no way to live a life.
10 Short-Term Happiness
Like most people, we are all constantly in the pursuit of happiness and usually we think spending money on things which make life better for us. It is true that money can buy you happiness but only for a short period of time. A new designer handbag could set you back $500+ but according to Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, the high from the purchase won't last forever.
He said, "Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences."
9 Mood Swings
Oscar Wilde once said, "Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months." Trying to keep up with the latest trends, the most recent must-haves and especially who's-who of the fashion elite can see you operating at a very high stress level. Not being to concentrate on just one thing, but wanting to "have it all" can cause rapid changes in your mood daily.
To save yourself from this decline, you will need to prioritize your life. You should be able to stop yourself from impulse buying and be able to set yourself a budget. Try also cutting back on the amount of time you spend looking at these magazines that are causing the root of the problem.
8 Low Self-Esteem
British psychotherapist Dr Susie Orbach helped beauty brand Dove promote the "Love The Skin You're In" campaign. They are currently campaigning for a more healthier stereotype of women in the media.
Dr Orbach said, "One of the major underlying causes for increasing low self-esteem among young people is that they do not see their uniqueness reflected back at them. They see so many perfected images of girls and women that this idea of how they need to be seeps into them, leading them to feel their own loveliness is inadequate".
7 Excessive Paranoia In Relationships
The terrible reality is that most magazines aimed at young women set out to shock them into reading. They use big and bold headlines on their front pages such as "Stop Him From Cheating By Using This Simple Bedroom Trick". Luring women in by offering them help with their hidden insecurities is quite the nasty trick to get readers - but they won't stop anytime soon.
Relationships are hard work and many people are quick to offer hoards of advice. There aren't many magazines that would print "Signs You're Doing Just Great Together!" You're more likely to see "How You Can Tell He's Still Into His Ex", just to get you reaching for the magazine off the shelf.
Often we flick through celebrity gossip magazines just to pass some time. We have every right to indulge in a quick entertainment fix, but when we find ourselves doing very little else then it's a problem. The shock tactic headlines, hundreds of images of celebrities and page turning exposés are all tricks to keep you hooked right through to the end.
Sometimes we feel guilty as our deadlines start creeping up on us because we spent too long being distracted. Avoid letting procrastination take over your life by setting yourself strict guidelines for when you pick up a magazine and how long for. Being disciplined with yourself will help you become more productive both professionally and personally.
5 Sickness From Extreme Dieting
Every summer you will find magazines screaming headlines at you from the news stands such as, "20 Ways To Lose 10lbs In A Week" or "5 Diet Tricks To Eat 500 Calories Or Less." These extreme diet plans help to sell more covers but they don't help boost your general health. A perfect bikini body can only be achieved through a balanced diet and plenty of exercise.
Crash diets don't work but this won't stop vulnerable young women from trying. Losing a lot of weight in a short period of time can leave you feeling low in energy, in a bad mood and dizzy. Your body needs carbohydrates, essential fats and sugars to survive. So as long as you are consuming them in moderation you really don't need to be forcing yourself to be thin.
4 Financial Turmoil
Anyone who has ever flicked through a magazine will realize that most of the pages are stuffed full of high-end advertising and very few actual articles. The majority of these items that they advertise are from luxury brands such as Versace handbags or Dior dresses. There are even the latest face creams for $60 that you just "must have."
Credit card debt is something that many young women are struggling with right now. When you purchase the latest new fitting jeans for $99, you probably spend $125 finally paying it back. There are so many style tips online showing you how to get a designer look for less, so don't just jump straight into any purchase. Instead shop around online and find the very best deal.
3 Complete Burnout
Trying to keep up with a celebrity lifestyle can put us into a complete burnout mode. Notice how many celebrities suffer from exhaustion? Even they can't handle it. Stress can sometimes be great for us, as it keeps us motivated and focused on goals. Healthy stress can only occur when it's in moderate doses or too much can lead to depression.
If you have read too much gossip, overspent on the latest trends and feel as if you aren't looking as slim as a catwalk model then you may be placing too much pressure on yourself. Speak to someone, either a medical professional or someone close to you, and explain how you are feeling.
2 Social Withdrawal
Did you miss your siblings birthday yet you remembered that Kylie Jenner was turning 18-years-old this year? You might have a problem connecting with people in real-life and prefer instead to build relationships with the faces you see in magazines.
Professor Larry Rosen lectures psychology at the University of California. He said, "Our real and virtual worlds certainly overlap, as many of our virtual friends are also our real friends. But the time and effort we put into our virtual worlds limit the time to connect and especially to communicate on a deeper level in our real world." Remember to always take the time out to establish a connection with people who aren't online. It's easy to believe this is the "real" them but most of what you see is staged for social media.
1 Feeling Unfulfilled In Life
You might not be your usual productive self at work and feel like you're constantly stuck in a low mood. Unhappiness and detachment from others can threaten your health, and also your professional career. You can regain your normal, happy persona by speaking to someone about how you feel and reassessing what is most important to you.
Remember if chasing such materialistic things makes you so happy, then why are you left feeling this miserable?