“Breaking Free from Social Comparison: Safeguard Your Mental Well-being”

In an era of social media dominance, the phenomenon of social comparison has become increasingly prevalent. Constant exposure to carefully curated, highlight-reel versions of others’ lives can take a toll on our mental health. However, by adopting healthy strategies, we can minimize the negative impact of social comparison and protect our well-being.

Understanding Social Comparison: Social comparison involves evaluating one’s abilities, qualities, and achievements with others. The relentless nature of social media platforms intensifies this process, often leading to feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and lowered self-esteem.

Examples of common social comparisons:

  • Appearance: Comparing one’s physical appearance to others is a common form of social comparison. This can involve body shape, weight, style, or attractiveness.
  • Achievements: Comparing academic or career achievements, such as grades, test scores, job titles, promotions, or salary, can lead to feelings of inadequacy or competitiveness.
  • Relationships: Comparing one’s romantic relationships, friendships, or social circle to others can create feelings of loneliness, insecurity, or the fear of missing out (FOMO).
  • Material possessions: Comparing possessions, such as clothing, gadgets, cars, or houses, can lead to feelings of envy, materialism, or a sense of social status.
  • Social media presence: Comparing the number of followers, likes, comments, or the quality of posts on social media platforms can trigger feelings of self-doubt, low self-esteem, or the fear of not measuring up.

Recognizing the Illusion: It’s crucial to remember that social media presents a distorted reality. People tend to share their best moments, selectively filtering out struggles and challenges. Remind yourself that what you see is not the full picture, and comparisons are inherently unfair.

Limit Exposure: Setting boundaries on social media usage can help reduce the frequency and intensity of social comparison. Designate specific times for social media engagement and create “no-phone” zones or activities to encourage presence and self-reflection.

Focus on Personal Growth: Shift the focus from comparing yourself to others to nurturing your personal growth. Set realistic goals and work on self-improvement. Celebrate your accomplishments and milestones, no matter how small, as they are unique to your journey.

Practice Gratitude: Cultivating a gratitude mindset can counteract the negative effects of social comparison. Regularly reflect on the positive aspects of your life, express gratitude for your achievements, and appreciate the strengths and qualities that make you who you are.

Seek Authentic Connections: Prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to social connections. Engage in meaningful interactions with friends, family, and communities that share your values and provide genuine support. Surrounding yourself with positive influences can help boost self-esteem and foster a sense of belonging.

Conclusion: Social comparison can exert a detrimental influence on mental health, but it is within our power to mitigate its impact. By understanding the illusions of social media, setting boundaries, focusing on personal growth, practicing gratitude, and nurturing authentic connections, we can safeguard our mental well-being in an increasingly connected world.

Here are three simple healthy coping skills that can help mitigate the negative effects of social comparison:
  1. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself and cultivate self-compassion. Acknowledge that everyone has their own unique journey and strengths. When you find yourself comparing, remind yourself that you are enough just as you are. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would extend to a friend facing similar feelings of comparison.
  2. Focus on Personal Growth and Goals: Instead of fixating on what others are doing or achieving, redirect your energy towards your own personal growth and goals. Set realistic and meaningful objectives that align with your values and aspirations. Celebrate your progress and achievements, no matter how small, as they contribute to your personal journey.
  3. Limit Social Media Exposure and Engage in Offline Activities: Take control of your social media usage by setting boundaries. Consider reducing the time spent scrolling through social media platforms or take regular breaks from them. Engage in offline activities that bring you joy, such as hobbies, exercise, spending time with loved ones, or exploring new interests. By focusing on real-life experiences, you can shift your attention away from the constant comparison fostered by social media.

Remember, these coping skills take time and practice to implement effectively. Be patient with yourself and understand that breaking free from the cycle of social comparison is a journey. Building a strong sense of self-worth and nurturing your own unique path are essential steps towards maintaining positive mental well-being in the face of social comparison.

Article by: LRJ Educates

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  1. Festog, M., & Fiedler, K. (2012). Social comparison and the pursuit of self-improvement. In M. R. Leary & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of Self and Identity (2nd ed., pp. 229-251). Guilford Press.
  2. Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Okdie, B. M., Eckles, K., & Franz, B. (2015). Who compares and despairs? The effect of social comparison orientation on social media use and its outcomes. Personality and Individual Differences, 86, 249-256.
  3. Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.
  4. Turkle, S. (2012). Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Basic Books.


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