How To Beat Social Media Envy + Feel Better About Yourself

5 Tips to Beat Social Media Envy

By Alice Williams

With the prevalence of social media, there’s no way you’ve made it this far in your Internet life without doing at least a tiny bit of online stalking.

It’s natural to be curious about people, and if you’re the kind of person who finds other human beings fascinating, you’ve probably landed yourself 78 weeks back on your best friend’s brother’s girlfriend’s Instagram on more than one occasion.

Don’t worry — this is a judgment-free zone. Everyone falls down the social media rabbit hole now and then. But not everyone does it in the healthiest way.

Here are five tips to help you balance your social media stalking with healthy mental and emotional perspectives…

Stop comparing.

“Comparison is the thief of joy,” the old adage goes. And while that quote wasn’t originally about social media, it’s great advice for online interaction. No matter how many exotic and glowing selfies pop up in your feed, very few people actually lead such Pinterest-perfect lives — so stop holding your own life up to those expectations.

You may have heard of the “generalized friendship paradox,” which states that, on average, most people’s friends are happier and more popular than they are. However, Psychology Today clarifies that a bit: “The really obnoxiously lucky people skew the numbers for the rest of us.” So, while everyone on your newsfeed might appear to be part of the envy-inducing minority, statistically they probably aren’t — there’s almost always going to be someone a little bit more popular.

And that’s a crucial realization for a healthy social media life.

Everyone is lucky in different ways. Don’t take the best parts of others’ lives and compare them to the full picture you have of your own life. Enjoy what you have, and make the most of your own beautifully messy experience.

Limit your time on social media to make sure you get the most out of it.

When it comes to the Internet, less can certainly be more. Hours spent mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed can leave your with a major case of FOMO (or Fear Of Missing Out). The irony is, by focusing so intently on using social media to prove you aren’t missing anything, you might actually be losing out on real life experiences.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way.

There are a number of apps you can install on your phone to help you monitor how much time you’re spending on various social media platforms (and on your phone in general). Stay aware, and keep your usage to a level that helps you be your happiest, healthiest self.

Focus on what makes you feel good.

While having a feed full of flawless selfies or perfect vacations can be aesthetically gratifying, it’s a good idea to engage with posts that cater to your emotional and mental needs as well. Figure out what makes you feel good, then subscribe to and post media that reflects those things.

Upload pictures that show authentic happiness, even if they aren’t perfectly staged.

Regram a funny quote that made you smile, even if the graphic design isn’t as hip as it could be.

You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised not only at the positive response those posts receive but also at your lack of social media envy.

Be authentic.

Anyone who works in marketing understands the importance of having a strong personal brand, and in 2015, your social media presence is a huge part of that. Just make sure you aren’t sacrificing your individuality for followers. Share posts that highlight the wonderful (and even weird) parts of your personality. The Internet offers a wide variety of communities, and chances are you’ll find support no matter what you share.

If you prefer to shy away from personal branding efforts, that’s fine too. You can still enjoy communicating with friends, reposting content from other people, or updating your extended family on how things are going.

As long as you’re having fun, being authentic, and being kind, you’re doing it right.

Separate advertisement from reality.

Social media is a big business these days. As companies start recognizing the advertising potential of popular platforms like Instagram, a lot of users are getting paid to promote products. And as advertising becomes more integrated into the user experience, it’s important make the distinction between reality and promotion in order to avoid social media envy.

If you see a girl who looks like a model sporting a bikini on a beautiful beach, there’s a good chance she’s actually a model sporting a bikini on a beautiful beach — meaning that she’s probably getting paid to take and post the picture. Advertisements are supposed to play on desires and emotions; that’s how they sell products. But that doesn’t mean you should expect your personal life to perfectly mirror someone else’s highly edited, professional photoshoot.

Real life doesn’t have to look perfect to have meaning.

At the end of the day, there’s no perfect way to engage with social media. The most important thing you can do to have a healthy experience is to check in with yourself frequently.

Remember, a selfie doesn’t have to be a substitute for genuine self-care.