How to Stop Social Media Envy in Its Tracks

Do you sometimes find yourself feeling envious of other people’s lives while scrolling through your social media feeds? It’s normal and quite common to experience feelings of sadness or envy while poking around online. It’s important, however, to remember that people are only sharing their best, most glamorous photos and that we all have our ups and downs. Here are seven tips that will help you to shake off social media envy.

1. Become aware of your feelings

A study in Germany asked 600 adults to discuss their feelings about social media. One-third of those who participated shared that they were coping with negative feelings while on social media sites. The dominant emotions were envy and frustration.

Dr. Hanna Krasnova at the Humboldt-Universität shared the following: “By and large, online social networks allow users unprecedented access to information on relevant others—insights that would be much more difficult to obtain offline.” Research proves that we experience unpleasant feelings because of the inflated, retouched presentations that people create online. Stop and realize that it’s all a make-believe, virtual world. The first step is just acknowledging that this envy occurs, and it’s normal.

2. Step up your real-world interactions

Research shows that people who look at an acquaintances’ vacation photos while spending time together in person do not experience the negative feelings they do while scrolling on social media. Here’s an idea—spend more time with your close pals, and look at pictures from their latest family gathering or vacation in person. Spend more time talking and interacting socially in 3D, and you’ll be less prone to the social media blues.

3. Stop comparing yourself to others

Cut out all of that negative self-talk and realize that it’s like watching “reality” TV—there’s a ton of styling, hair and make-up behind that stuff, and the same applies to social media. You’ll always see people’s wildest, sexiest, funniest, most adventurous photos, right? So remember that fact the next time you’re stuck on your ex’s page seeing how great their new partner’s hair looks, or how awesome their Norman Rockwell holiday photos were. Stop comparing yourself to fantasy worlds created by other people, and love your life, right now.

4. Do something new

So, you keep getting annoyed when you see old high school or college pals living large online… do something about it! Do you feel stuck in your job or relationship? It’s time to take stock and use these unpleasant feelings as a motivational tool to help you get out of your funk. Take a new class, end a toxic relationship, and work on improving your life—for real.

5. Stop competing

Take a moment t’ think before you post. Who are you trying to impress or please? Odd are that the people or person you are trying to “get back at” or attract won’t even care about what you post online. It’s not a beauty pageant, and it’s not a popularity contest. Life is beautiful, so stop wasting time in the virtual world of one-upmanship.

6. Take a social media break

Every now and then, take an entire week off from social media. This may sound crazy at first, but I’m smack in the middle of a two-week Facebook fast and I love it. It’s extremely liberating to step back and focus on your real, actual life, just letting the Facebook alerts pile up for a while. Don’t fret—it will all be there waiting to aggravate you when you log back in.

7. Swap out your social media time

Find a new activity to replace the time you generally waste obsessing over social media pages. Get busy volunteering or learn to cook—you get the idea. As corny as it may sound, we are all wasting precious time online when we could be enriching ourselves. Simply reading a great book or calling a friend and talking—you know, the old-fashioned way—could be healthier options to scrolling and getting annoyed.

In the end, social media can, of course, be a helpful tool for reconnecting with friends and family. Just be aware of the perils of spending too much time there in the vortex of envy.

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