Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snap Chat. Social media is taking over, and it’s making a big impact on our day-to-day lives, but most importantly, on our self-esteem. We compare, we get anxious, rinse and repeat. It has become so easy to access images of others and their lives, the vacations, weddings, restaurant visits, etc. How do we measure up? What do we have in comparison to our friends? These frequent questions can lead to anxiety and feelings of sadness, contributing to decreased self-esteem and lower satisfaction in our lives.
Avoiding the Comparison
One of the most significant ways that social media impacts us is the amount of time spent using it, and how we use it. In an effort to minimize the negative impact of social media on how you feel about yourself, being mindful and aware of your thoughts is crucial.
- Practice Mindfulness: When you make the choice to use social media, be aware of your thoughts in that present moment. Accept them, non-judgmentally, but try to let them go. You might be envious of a friend’s trip to Europe or a colleague’s newly decorated home, but try to let those thoughts go, letting them out as quickly as they came in.
- Practice Gratitude: It is SO easy to get caught up in what you are seeing on these social media channels and forget all of the good you have in your life. Start a gratitude journal and practice writing down a few things a day that you are grateful for in your life. Read these statements often, especially before you check out your social media feeds.
- Address the underlying cause: Why are you comparing yourself? What is driving you to feel envious of what you see on your Facebook feed? Are you wishing your life looked different in a certain area and feel frustrated when it appears someone else has what you want? Addressing what is really causing you to compare can be a very effective way to make some sustainable changes.
- Be a Cautious Consumer: Remember that what you see is not always what you get. Social media is the perfect place to display the perfect picture. However, what is clearly not displayed is someone in their natural environment, going through their normal ups and downs. Remind yourself that the visual images you are using to compare yourself do not represent the whole picture.
- Take a social media break: Hide the apps or remove them from your phone entirely for a few weeks and see how you feel. It can be helpful to use the time you normally use to peruse social media for more rewarding activities that make you feel good!
As more research is done linking the use of social media to higher levels of anxiety and depression, it is so important to understand how these apps and sites are impacting you. Of course social media can be a wonderful and use tool, but can also get in the way of how we view ourselves and how we perceive others. If you feel that you want to learn more about how to improve your self-esteem and stop comparing yourself to others, please feel free to contact me at 312-729-5089 for a free 15-minute consultation to learn more about how I can help.