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5 ways comparing yourself to others can affect your mental health

Comparing ourselves to others is a natural human behavior, often fueled by social media and societal pressures.

How comparing yourself to others can affect your mental health [Credit: Davina Diaries]

However, this habit can have profound effects on our mental health, shaping our emotions, self-esteem, and overall life satisfaction. Here are five ways in which making comparisons to others can negatively impact your mental health:

Constantly comparing oneself to others can lead to heightened levels of anxiety and stress. When you measure your own achievements against those of others, you may feel that you are never doing enough or that you are falling behind.

This perpetual sense of inadequacy can increase stress and lead to anxiety over perceived failures or shortcomings.

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Comparison can significantly lower self-esteem, especially if you consistently view yourself as less successful, attractive, or happy than those around you.

This can be particularly damaging if you are comparing your own behind-the-scenes struggles with someone else's highlight reel, as is often the case on social media platforms.

When you see only the best parts of others’ lives, it can falsely seem that your life doesn't measure up, thereby decreasing your self-esteem.

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Over time, negative comparisons can lead to feelings of sadness and hopelessness, which are key symptoms of depression.

If someone routinely believes they don't measure up to others in their social circle or society at large, this can cultivate a pervasive sense of inferiority and sadness.

Chronic comparison may make it difficult to appreciate your own life's unique path, leading to depressive thoughts when milestones are not met as expected.

Comparing yourself to others can also foster feelings of jealousy and resentment. Seeing others achieve goals or receive opportunities that you desire can lead to bitterness and a sense of injustice.

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These feelings not only affect your mood and mental health but can also strain relationships and lead to a toxic environment, both personally and professionally.

When you are focused on comparing yourself to others, you might miss out on opportunities for personal development. Being preoccupied with what others are doing can distract you from focusing on your own goals and self-improvement.

It can also lead to a defeatist attitude, where you might give up on pursuits simply because you feel you can't match up to others' achievements.

While it's almost impossible to completely avoid comparing yourself to others, being aware of the impact it can have on your mental health is a crucial step.

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To counteract these negative effects, try to focus on your personal growth, set achievable goals, and celebrate your own successes. Learning to appreciate your unique journey can significantly enhance your self-esteem and overall mental health.

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