In celebration of “National Admit You’re Happy” month, Profile’s Senior Learning and Development Specialist Natalie Papini is here to dish out well-being and happiness tips ALL. MONTH. LONG. Natalie already has her Master’s in clinical health psychology and is now hitting the books for her PhD. (In other words, she is one smart cookie when it comes to behavior change.)
Playing the comparison game is a fast happiness killer. Yet, our minds have a sneaky way of doing it. Instead of seeing our personal accomplishments for what they are, we often judge our performance based on others. Fortunately, I’m going to share some ways you can combat this.
First, let’s look at how comparison can be a happiness killer. A study done at the 1992 Summer Olympic games examined the emotional reactions of bronze and silver medalists. Given that gold medalists earn first place, silver earn second, and bronze earns third, you’d expect happiness to follow that same pattern. However, the bronze winners were actually happier than the silver medalists at the end of the event as well as when they were standing on the medal stand. It is speculated this is because the silver medalist recognizes and ruminates on how they could have achieved the gold while the bronze medalist is simply happy and grateful that they completed the event and placed.
Then social media enters the picture. A simple scroll down your Facebook feed keeps you in the loop on all the things. The job promotion Joe received. The fancy new house Karen and Bill just closed on. Photos from the friends’ trip you just couldn’t swing this year. Suddenly, you’re thinking, “Wow…Look at how awesome they are doing. What am I doing wrong?”
We’ve all been there. In fact, psychology research shows social media leads us to compare ourselves to others, which in turn lowers our self-esteem. This research also suggests that when we see social media posts that paint a picture of someone doing worse than we are, it doesn’t raise our self-esteem. Talk about a lose-lose situation.
So, let’s get to a win-win instead by crushing those comparison blues! Start improving your overall well-being by:
- Reflecting on your relationships. Think about how you’re currently relating to the people around you and consider who you’re following on social media. Are any of these having an impact on you and your health journey? It’s okay to unfollow someone if you need to!
- Practicing gratitude. In action, gratitude is realizing you’re appreciative of what you have or what you’re doing in the here and now. At the end of the week, take time to reflect on the previous days and write down three to five things you’re grateful for.
Take your happiness up another notch by sharing your gratitude with others:
- Write a short note sharing your appreciation for a person in your life and give it to them.
- If writing isn’t your thing, simply tell that person why you are thankful for them.
Sharing your gratitude with others leads to higher levels of well-being for longer periods of time. Who knows, you may also boost the happiness of others while you’re at it!
Want another dose of happiness? Click here to catch my first blog on ‘Savoring Moments’ if you missed it. Keep in mind: Your Profile coach would love to be a part of your support system and cares about your well-being! Share with them what habits you’re trying to implement.
Not a Profile member? Click here to set up a FREE one-on-one, no-obligation consultation with a certified coach at your nearest Profile location.
- Medvec, V. H., Madey, S. F., & Gilovich, T. (1995). When less is more: counterfactual thinking and satisfaction among Olympic medalists. Journal of personality and social psychology, 69(4), 603.
- Santos, L. (2018). The Science of Well-being, week 2, Misconceptions About Happiness [PowerPoint slides]
- Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Roberts, L. R., & Eckles, K. (2014). Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 3(4), 206.