Toxic Inspiration: ‘Thinspo’ And Its Impact On Mental Health

With over 3.5 billion users, social media is probably the most prominent part and influence on our culture. It can impact the way you understand the world and significantly affect how you perceive and interact with yourself. One of the most evident examples of this is the toxic and extremely harmful online trend of ‘thinspo’ or ‘thinspiration.’ 

Constantly scrolling through images and posts that glorify a certain body type and look down upon others is bound to affect how you look at yourself. This is precisely what thinspiration does. 

It includes using pictures and videos of thin people, preferably actresses, and models, and describing them with captions that glorify being thin, even at the cost of eating disorders. These images and memes are then shared across platforms to ‘inspire’ people to get thin through unhealthy eating habits. 

While the terms have recently found a new audience, this phenomenon is not new. Thinspiration, pro-ana (anorexia), and pro-mia (bulimia) websites have been present since 2001, and Yahoo banned some 100-odd sites around the same time.

In this post, we will dive deeper into how thinspo affects people’s mental health and steps to deal with it. Let’s get started.


How Does ‘Thinspo’ Affect Mental Health?

Thinspo is a highly toxic and dangerous trend, especially for those with a negative body image. Body image refers to a person’s perception of their own body at a personal and societal level. A negative body image sets unrealistic expectations for the affected person, thereby pushing them toward unhealthy lifestyles and eating habits.

Thinspo contributes to this negative perception and enforces eating disorders among people. It does not just promote unrealistic body standards but also encourages eating disorders. It refers to them as lifestyle choices rather than mental illnesses, perpetuating a grossly incorrect perception that can literally affect lives. 

Eating disorders have the highest death rates among all mental disorders. As per official statistics, around 20% of people diagnosed with anorexia nervosa die from complications related to the mental illness. The remaining 80% have to deal with debilitating health conditions like heart problems, kidney stones, kidney failures, etc. 

This is why trends like thinspiration are extremely dangerous for people, especially adolescents, and teenagers. Now that you have an idea about the consequences of the trends, let us discuss how you can deal with the toxicity that it perpetuates.

Read more: The Different Types Of Eating Disorders

How To Deal With ‘Thinspiration’ Trends?

1. Take a break from social media from time to time. 

If you find yourself feeling bad after spending time online, it is important to take a break. So, when you start to feel overwhelmed, take a step back. If this makes you feel better, taking time off social media or regularly taking breaks is not a bad idea. 

2. Unfollow or block accounts that make you feel bad.

Pay attention to the things, people, and posts on social media that affect your mood and perception of yourselves. Once you have them figured out, it is time to filter your feed and block all these things. Now take time to replace these accounts with content that makes you feel happy and good.

Read more: Body Dysmorphia – The Unhealthy Obsession With Perfection

3. Spend time with people who make you feel better.

Whether online or offline, it is essential to have a set of people that make you feel good about yourself. In a world that is desperately seeking to dull your spirits, these are the people who build you up. Their positivity will not just make you feel better but also genuinely imbibe it in the way you feel about yourself.


Thinspo is a toxic trend that shames people into harmful and possibly life-threatening habits. It uses images and videos of thin people to set unrealistic expectations for others. Additionally, it portrays eating disorders as lifestyle choices, negating their harmful effects on mental and physical health. 

One of the best ways to deal with thinspiration is to love your body. Now this might sound like an unreachable goal, but we have some solutions for you. To learn more about loving your body, click here

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