Comparing yourself to others is completely normal, so try not to beat yourself up if you regularly make comparisons with your peers, friends, family, and celebrities. Sometimes it can be helpful, with people using comparisons as a source of inspiration for them to do better. But for many others, frequent social comparisons can trigger more negative feelings of envy, guilt, loneliness and isolation.
Social Comparison Theory was only introduced in 1954, but the act of comparing ourselves to one another almost certainly pre-dates that by some distance. Nowadays, with our lives on display through the lens of social media, the opportunities to make social comparisons are limitless. With endless possibilities come countless risks, and while many people will casually dip in and out of social media seemingly unaffected, plenty more will be at higher risks to a range of related mental health problems including diagnosed anxiety, depression and sleep disturbance.
On 17th November, Dr Jennifer Opoku-Lageyre and Metro Lifestyle Editor Ellen Scott explored this subject, looking at the links between social media and mental health, before sharing their tips for managing social comparisons in a healthy way. We've summarised some of the key takeaways from the live event in this handy infographic.
The discussion was our latest OpenHouse event, a series of online discussions focusing on a variety of important mental health topics. In each event, we bring together specialist clinicians and people with lived experience to create a two-way dialogue in a live, safe and anonymous digital forum.