When checking feeds on social platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, or even whilst watching programmes or movies on the television, it is very common that people will compare themselves to those they are exposed to. Whether you feel envious of others based on their appearance or lifestyle, or even if you feel superior, it’s important to note these behaviours and avoid acting upon them and try to stop these comparisons, as they can have a negative impact on your mental health and warp your perceptions of the world.
A number of easily accessible studies have explored how extended amounts of time spent on social media increase the risk of depression and has a negative impact on well-being. So, imagine all of the positive benefits on your mental health and well-being if the time spent scrolling on social media was spent focusing on yourself.
One way to avoid comparing yourself to others is to become aware of the things that cause you to feel these ways, and try to restrain thoughts that may arise that can impact the way you are feeling. Social media is perhaps the biggest platform for comparison to others, so maybe try to note the specific kinds of people or pages that make you draw negative comparisons and unfollow or try to avoid these pages in the future.
Another thing to do to avoid comparison is to remember that you cannot judge somebody’s reality through the images they upload. Perhaps somebody uploads pictures in which they appear to be constantly happy and living a wonderful life, however it is important to remember that the images people project do not necessarily portray what is truly going on in their lives. Instagram and Facebook often only show the highlights of peoples lives, so before you start to feel hard done by or that you aren’t as happy as you should be, remember you never know what is going on behind an image and people that have seemingly perfect lives could be going through an extremely difficult time.
Finally, it is important to remember that fame does not equal happiness. Whilst famous people or influencers that you may follow may appear to live the ideal life, constantly travelling the world and appearing in new luxury items of clothing with the latest fashions, this does not necessarily mean that they are happy. So, if you find yourself wishing you were able to have all of these material items, remind yourself that material things are not what is important, and happiness stems from within. Instead of spending all of your money on material goods, perhaps you could invest in a membership to a yoga class or a gratitude journal that will aid your wellbeing.
Always remember, your number one priority is you, so take care of yourself and invest your time into yourself rather than comparing yourself to others.