Saturday, March 10, 2012

Is Facebook Bumming You Out?

Ever scroll through your New Feed, with all those posts from people announcing great news or luxuriating on vacation, and suddenly you feel like your life is...lacking? You're not alone. FB, it turns out, can be a serious downer. But it's ok. If those people were having that much fun on vacation, why would they even bother to pry themselves away to post about it on facebook?

As you know, constantly comparing yourself to others is a recipe for feeling crappy. And although you may do your best to avoid falling into the trap, it's not easy today, thanks to the invention of this little website called Facebook. We're bombarded with news of friends' accomplishments and major milestones every time we sign on, and research shows it's taking a toll on our mental health. A recent Stanford University study found that Facebook causes us to underestimate other people's misery and overestimate their happiness, which in turn makes us feel worse about ourselves.

What's more, experts say that women are most susceptible to these negative effects. We did some more digging to examine the dark side of your favorite way to kill a slow afternoon... and see if there are any tricks for keeping it from messing with your mind. Raise your hand if this scenario sounds familiar: After a hellish day at work or spat with your guy/girl, you log on to Facebook and scroll through your friends'  carefully curated photo albums and peppy status updates-- "Adele concert was sick... So blessed to have the best boyfriend/husband in the world... Just got a puppy!"

Chances are you're comparing your life to theirs, and when you're in a low moment, yours comes up short. They never seem to post their desperate moments, so you assume they don't have any, and you feel isolated and wonder why your life can't be as easy and wonderful as theirs. A separate University of Texas at Austin study found that men use Facebook to share items related to the news or current events, whereas women use it to share personal developments like getting engaged, pregnant, promoted, etc. In an age where we have so many more opportunities than we've ever had before, there is pressure for us to succeed in all areas of our lives.

Seeing your peers excel in an aspect of life where you may be a step behind can make you feel like you don't measure up. It can even cause you to question your own choices. You don't need to deactivate your account to keep your confidence and sanity in check. The trick is to not look at your news feed like a contest. Who has the most friends, 'likes', and the most interesting news about their life. Be ruthless and block anybody that is too braggy who sparks the competitive fire in you. Also, just because someone else got ahead in life does not mean that you won't, either.

Source: Cosmopolitan 

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