Instagram Envy: Steps for changing your perspective

SAN DIEGO — For people who scroll through their Instagram feeds and get upset about a friend at the concert they wanted to go to — they are not alone.

Instagram envy is a real thing, and according to therapists Dr. Susan Krausse-Whitbourne and James Robinson. Seeing others’ lives as being better through a picture — is the gateway to those feelings.

Research by Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute categorized the way people’s social media activity in a few different ways — direct communication with individuals, passive and broadcasting.

In those terms, Instagram broadcasts content with little to no information to passive consumers.

“Sometimes people present themselves as living a life that they really aren’t, and it can create these masks that are unattainable,” said Robinson, a therapist at Kull Initiative for Psychotherapy in New York.

To avoid that feeling, experts say there are some things you can do to help.

The first thing is to make a perspective shift where rather than being jealous, turn that into being inspired by photos on Instagram, or other social media apps.

“Neurotic people who are a little shaky on their sense of identity and even the quality of their face-to-face relationships are more vulnerable to FOMO, jealousy and thinking ‘why am I not included in everything?’” said Dr. Krauss-Whitbourne, Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Another way people can help put things into perspective is to talk to people, either online or face-to-face, that they know in real life. It can help people to look at posts in a more realistic light, and consider if it would be something that would even fit into their lifestyle.

Lastly, experts recommend people narrow down which pictures are making them jealous and figure out why.

“It can feel terrible, cycling through all those things you don’t have can build anger and resentment,” Robinson said.

Taking it a step further, treat your Instagram feed like a diet — that is, making sure the content you are taking in is healthy for your mind.

This story was written by Marissa Gonzales.

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