By Melissa Pheterson
March 06, 2011

Can Facebook boost your self-esteem? A new study by Cornell researchers says yes, because the social networking site allows users to "put their best face forward" through their posts and photos, while getting positive feedback from friends. Yet a Canadian study from September reports that most Facebook users tend to struggle with low self-esteem and high levels of insecurity, laboring through their words and pictures to persuade others (and themselves) about their self-worth. While Facebook privacy settings can help lock out so-called "online bullies," the question remains: does the site's "mirror, mirror" qualities reinforce self-esteem, or exploit self-doubt?

Here are SHAPE's top 5 ways you can use Facebook to feel good about yourself:

•Share your latest workout or fitness goal you've reached - and wait for your built-in social network to cheer you on

•Post a picture of yourself finally fitting into that killer new dress

•Take a picture of a healthy, yummy dish you've cooked

•When you're having a bad day, post all the sordid details and let your friends help you gain perspective (e.g. "This will be funny someday!")

•Write on the wall of a friend or relative who always cheers you up

Blogger Melissa Pheterson

Melissa Pheterson is a health and fitness writer and trend-spotter. Follow her on and on Twitter @preggersaspie.


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