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How Social Media Is Making You Feel Bad about Yourself Every Day

How Social Media Is Making You Feel Bad about Yourself Every Day

Do you ever feel worse about yourself after scrolling through Facebook or Twitter? Does it seem as though everyone is leading a life better than your own? It’s all too easy to get jealous of others on social media. Vacation photos, engagement announcements, wedding shoots – it can be enough to make you seriously envious.

Symptoms of social media envy

So what are the symptoms of social media envy? The main clue is an overall drop in mood. You might feel empty after reading some particularly upbeat posts from a friend or relative. You may also feel compelled to read through all their posts, or flick through all their photo albums. Even when you feel jealous, it’s as though you can’t look away. On some level, you might even enjoy using their posts as a stick with which to beat yourself. Within minutes, you can spiral downwards into a pit of self-loathing and despair. You might also feel bad for feeling jealous. After all, shouldn’t you feel happy for others?

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Humans are inherently competitive

It may help to understand how this phenomenon arises in the first place. Humans are inherently social creatures who like connecting with others, but we are also a competitive species. The truth is that most of us enjoy showing off to some extent. The inevitable outcome is a society of people who tend to take every opportunity to show the world just how great they are, and how well their lives are going. Unfortunately, it is hard to remember this when you are browsing Facebook, and this is where the problems start. According to a study carried out at the University of Copenhagen, we start to feel envious when we compare our everyday lives with other people’s highlight reel – which is all social media really is.[1] When you fall into the trap of compar ing your private self with other people’s public personas, you are bound to feel inferior!

Jealousy is like real pain

Why is a jealousy a problem? It might feel like a mere annoyance on a day-to-day level, but the effects can accumulate over time. According to a piece research published in the journal Science, envy and physical pain make use of the same regions in the brain.[2] It actually hurts to feel jealous, and it can become a bad habit. Over time, you can become a bitter person who is too busy overanalyzing their own shortcomings rather than living life.

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So what can you do to combat social media envy?

Remove boastful people from your friends list

If you follow people who make a point of showing off at every available opportunity, unfollow or delete them. Boastful people are rarely good friends anyway. If you still want to keep in touch with them, stick to text or instant messenger instead.

Don’t be afraid to mention good things in your own life

If you have some good news to share, spread the positivity! There is nothing wrong in acknowledging your achievements and highlights on your profile. It’s only when it is done to excess or to make others jealous that you need to re-evaluate your behavior. Other people might have good lives, but chances are that you have great moments too. You could also set up a private profile that only you can view. Make this private profile as positive or even as boastful as you like. It sounds silly, but it could be a good self-esteem boost.

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Limit social media time

The simplest way to avoid succumbing to envy is to limit the amount of time you spend reading other people’s posts. Never allow yourself to waste hours looking longingly through a feed or photo album. Set yourself a reasonable time limit per day, and stick to it.

Use social media to connect, not compare

Social networks are designed for positive interactions, not pointless and unhealthy comparisons. Keep your focus where it belongs. Take a genuine interest in other people’s activities, lives, and opinions rather than running yourself down by making it into a competition.

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You don’t have to give up Instagram, Facebook, or other social media platforms entirely. They are great tools for staying in touch with others. However, in order to combat jealousy, you need to keep a balanced perspective and be willing to take a step back when necessary.

Reference

More by this author

Jay Hill

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on April 1, 2019

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

When we talk about happiness, we often think about staying happy all the time – every single day, every single minute with zero negativity. Many try to pursue this constant state of “happiness” as their ultimate goal, and avoid anything that may take it away from them.

But, what is the meaning of this type of “happiness”?

It’s a lot like your favorite food. The more often you have it isn’t always better. On the contrary, when you only have a chance to eat it sparingly, that’s when you really savor every bite. So is it the food itself that makes you happy, or is it how valuable it is to you when you are eating it?

Always remember that only by experiencing sadness do we understand what it is to be happy.

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Video Summary

Don’t Assume Others Are Always Happy

Most people see those who have seemingly perfect lives and assume they are happy all the time. Since childhood, we are conditioned to chase the idea of “happily-ever-after” that we see in fairytales. On social media, everyone tends to share only the best looking aspects of their lives. So, it’s very easy to have a distorted view of what “happiness” is around us.

In reality, there is always something missing, something lacking, or something unpleasant.

No one has a perfect life. Even the most glamorous celebrities or the richest billionaires have their own set of challenges and problems.

When we feel negative, we’re only focusing on a small fluctuating curve. As CEO of Lifehack, I’ve had to deal with countless problems, and some of them felt like real setbacks at the time. During those moments, it really seemed like these problems would be the life or death of my company and my life goals. But, I got through them; and, weeks, months and eventually years passed with many more ups and downs.

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You need to keep your sights on the extended curve.  Looking back now, a lot of those “really big” problems at the time now seem like only small blips in a long line of experiences. Recalling them in my mind now makes me smile!

Stop Trying to Be Happy–Just Be

It’s natural to want to be happy as often as possible.

So what can we do?

First, throw away the belief that a perfect life means happiness. Personally, I would be miserable if everything was perfect. It’s through experiencing the pains of lifelong challenges that drives us to care for others when they are experiencing similar trials. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t be able to empathize. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t grow.

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To be truly happy, stop chasing permanent happiness.

It sounds like a paradox. But, what I mean is to accept that there will be ups and downs throughout life. Gracefully understand that happiness is a fluctuation of positive and negative events.

Understand the importance of gratitude. Instead of focusing on the unpleasant moment, flash back your memory to when you didn’t have something. I like to think about my career, for example. When I didn’t have a career I was passionate about, I felt lost and demotivated. I felt like everyone was figuring out their lives but me. But, when I found my purpose and started Lifehack, I was deeply happy, even before I realized I would be successful! This memory keeps me going when I hit tough spots. It takes the darkness to make us grateful for the light.

Happiness and Sadness Exist Together

What it all comes down to is this: your life will be filled with beautiful, happy and incredible moments–happy tears and joyous shouts and funny stories. But, your life will also be filled with rain and storms that never seem like they will pass while you’re going through them.

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But, whether your face is warmed by the sunshine, or your heart is dampened by the rain, know that it’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.

Treasure the happy moments and power through the sad ones. Don’t try to avoid “sad” or “negative” experiences, and blindly chase being “happy”. In the end you will achieve a true level of contentment in your life, based on meaningful experiences and achievements. Being able to create growth and meaning out of both positive and negative events — that is the true meaning of “happiness”.

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