Happiness, we all want it, and many feel as though it cannot be reached. Happiness is defined as a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. How do you define happiness? Is it related to satisfaction? Appreciation? Pleasure? Success? And more importantly, who defines happiness for you?
Often, people find themselves defining happiness based on the opinions or experiences of others, rather than themselves. With social media, the lives of others, whether they be friends, family, or strangers, are more accessible than ever. But what we often forget is that what we see on social media is highly curated and edited to perfection.
Facebook and Instagram contain people’s highlight reel, only the best of their lives that they feel compelled or safe sharing with others. Social media can give the illusion that everyone’s lives are good and perfect and yours is the exception. This distorted perception of other’s lives, can easily cause the viewer to feel shame or inadequacy in comparison. But how do you combat this comparative mindset, when all you see are beautiful photos, success, and positive moments?
The answer is your mindset. We recommend practicing mindfulness, the act of being mentally and physically present in the moment. Taking note of the small things in your day that bring you feelings of happiness. That’s not to say you have to abandon social media. Find ways to make viewing and posting on social media a joyful, restorative experience.
If you enjoy connecting with others, find sincere ways of doing so on social media. Comment thoughtful messages, express gratitude, reach out to people and share how they bring you happiness or encouragement. If you find yourself focusing on comparing your life to what you see on social media, reevaluate who you follow and why, consider cleaning your feed of accounts or images that spark unhealthy messages in your mind, and continually remind yourself that what you’re seeing isn’t always real, authentic, or the whole picture of their life.
Strive to be the person who defines happiness for yourself and create and enforce boundaries in your life, both off and online, that help foster feelings of joy, self-confidence, inspiration, and success.