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8 Things That Happen When You Stop Comparing

8 Things That Happen When You Stop Comparing

Comparing yourself to other people can be detrimental to your mental and physical well-being.

In this age of social media we have instant access to everyone’s life, from our 8th grade ex boyfriend to Taylor Swift’s cats (even though Meredith and Olivia are too stinkin’ cute.)

But with that instant access comes the fear of inferiority. Why is everyone’s life so much better than mine?

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If you are waiting for your boyfriend to propose, it seems like everyone on your FaceBook timeline is getting engaged. If you are having issues getting pregnant, it seems like everyone on your Instagram feed is posting ultrasound pictures or baby bump updates.

Whatever the case may be, it seems like all we do is constantly compare ourselves to other people and, at the end of the day, who is that actually benefiting?  Below are a list of 8 things that will happen when you stop comparing yourself to others.

1. You will realize how many wonderful things you already have.

Stop thinking about what you don’t have, and take a quick inventory of what you do have: a job (even if it’s not a great job), friends (even if it’s only a few close ones), a place to live (even if it’s not as big or beautiful as you want). There is always something you have to be grateful for in your life, so find out what those are and take a moment to be thankful.

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2. You will stop stressing over the things you do not have.

Once you have started being thankful for what you do have, you will stop stressing over the things that you don’t. It’s always great to have goals and aspire for bigger and better things, but it is not healthy to constantly focus on whatever it is you feel like your life is lacking.

3. You will put more focus on reaching your goals.

If there is something that your life is “lacking”, such as a college degree, or other realistically obtainable “thing”; it will only be once you have stopped feeling sorry for yourself, that you can put that energy towards obtaining it. Find out what it is you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to, and see if it’s something you have the ability to change or not. For example, if you are comparing yourself to people who are skinnier or more fit than you, take some steps towards eating better and leading a healthier lifestyle.

4. You will realize that what you are comparing yourself to is not always accurate.

Especially in terms of Social Media, what you see is definitely not always what you get. People are only putting the best versions of themselves out there for everyone to see.  So what you are comparing yourself to is an unfair comparison; like looking in a magazine and trying to obtain the look of the photo-shopped model. It may look perfect on the outside, but always remember that every single person has things they feel like their life is missing.

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5. You’ll see a rise in your self-esteem.

There is always going to be someone stronger, smarter, richer, and more beautiful then you. All you can do is set goals for yourself if there are things that you want to change, but beyond that, you are who you are. You have to find out what the best qualities are about you and let those shine, while working on any attributes you feel need changed; but for YOU. Not for the benefit of others’.

6. You will become a better friend.

Those closest to us are the easiest to compare ourselves to. If you feel like your friends all have things that you don’t, you may resent them without even knowing it. There’s nothing more upsetting then your friend giving you good news, and you responding with, “I’m so happy for you, but…” Nothing good can come from feeling that you deserve something more than a friend or family member.

7. You will realize that life isn’t always fair.

This one may sound cliché, but seriously. It all comes down to, “But it’s not fair that this person has this and I don’t.” Luckily, as adults, we realize the childishness of this thought and can, hopefully, move past it. Just because someone has something that you feel like you deserve more, is not going to give you whatever that is. Just like calling someone else dumb will not make you and smarter, or calling someone else fat will not make you any thinner. Realize that you are the master of your own universe and can shape your life to however you see fit, you just have to have the will-power to leave the negativity behind, and go for the gold.

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8. You will be happier.

This is, easily, the best reason to stop comparing yourself to others’. Again, constantly focusing on what other people have is mentally exhausting and, frankly, depressing. Once you’ve found the strength to stop seeing everything as a competition, you will breathe so much easier and your mental and physical well-being will reward you.

Featured photo credit: Andrés Nieto Porras via flickr.com

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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