How to tackle comparisonitis on social media

Does social media ever make you feel a little bit… down?

You might be suffering from comparisonitis, my friend.

And you’re not alone.

With one pandemic (seemingly) under control, another has bubbled up from the depths of digital society. Comparisonitis is a widespread issue that manifests itself in negative thoughts. Since lockdowns hit the world, people have been turning their eyes to social media for entertainment and guidance. The positive? Escapism and connection. The negative? Comparisonitis: a condition that leaves you comparing yourself to others and leaving you with the feeling you’re not doing enough, you’re not working hard enough, or you’re just not enough.

As someone who works full time in the world of social media, I know all too well how these kinds of unhealthy comparisons can make people feel.

Here, I’ve shared some practical tips to get you out of the comparisonitis slump and into a healthier and more resilient mindset when it comes to consuming content from the accounts you follow.

Tip 1: Link instead of compare

When you’re scrolling through whatever app takes your fancy, consciously think about how these platforms are making you feel when you’re using them. When you see someone else's post, are you comparing yourself to them? If so, instead of immediately assuming they’re better than you – fitter, slimmer, more wealthy, or more successful – try to link your situation to theirs, instead. Think about how your lives might be similar, or what you might have in common with this person.

If you’re struggling to put their content in perspective, see tip 2.

Tip 2: Do some healthy unfollowing

If you are constantly comparing yourself to someone negatively, unfollow them. If someone is just getting you riled up because of their internet opinions, unfollow them. If you just feel that someone’s content isn’t gelling with you, unfollow them. Trust me, culling your follow lists will change your feeds for the better!

Tip 3: Limit your time

Scrolling endlessly on social media can become an unhealthy habit. It can also mean you become fixated on other people. That’s when comparisonitis creeps back in, and before you know it, you feel glum whilst sifting through seemingly endless gym snaps, holiday pics, and happy couples.

Set time limits for each social media app. Most smartphones have a time limit feature. You can see how to do it on iPhones through Apple’s screen time limit here.

Tip 4: Creation over consumption

Social media channels are made for creation, not comparison. Use them to share your own expertise, goals, life events and enjoyment before you start looking at everyone else's. Don’t let yourself spend hours absorbing people’s posts. Actively spend more time putting stuff out there, with less regard for what’s being thrown back at you.

Tip 5: Follow people that bring you joy

This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget that they are actually in charge of their accounts.

You’ll probably want to follow your friends, family members, and people in your chosen field, sure. But if you don’t enjoy their content, make sure you mute or unfollow these folks and chase positivity from people who make you smile. Make a list of the things that inspire you, and search for accounts with posts that will excite you, not put a dampener on your day.

Tip 6: Know when it’s time to stop

You may want to stop feeling a particular way, but to do that you must first recognise what’s getting you down. Sounds easy, right? Not so fast. When people have a habit – in this case, looking at social media continuously, even though it often puts them in a bad state of mind – it’s often such an unconscious action that they don’t think about their emotions as they do it. Take note of how you feel when scrolling. As soon as that comparisonitis sets in and you find yourself frustrated, annoyed, or downright unhappy, STOP. Close the tab. Take a breath. Do something else for a while.

Social media should be a helpful, informative, and enjoyable tool for people and brands alike. It shouldn’t be causing unnecessary anxiety or depressive thoughts.

Take some of the above advice on board, and you should start to feel better about your social media usage. There’s no magic formula for this stuff, though. You need to learn to recognise what it is that’s not quite right, then take steps to address it. If you need any help banishing comparisonitis for good, or you want to explore ways of creating content that will lift others up, not drag them down, in one of my social media brainstorming sessions, contact me today!


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