A new study by RESCUE® highlights how many Brits are comparing themselves to others online and what they’ve ever felt ‘guilty’ about as a result

  • Half of all British adults compare themselves to others on social media
  • A quarter of adults admit they feel self-conscious when using social media
  • Over one in five feel under pressure to live the ‘perfect life’ due to seeing what others post online

Social media and the desire to lead picture-perfect lives is one of the leading causes of stress and overwhelm for adults all over the world[1]. The highly curated feeds are filled with glossy personal posts about professional achievements, fitness goals and parenting triumphs; and it’s only natural that we start to compare with our own lives and feel that we are not quite measuring up.

A brand new study of 2,000 adults who use social media revealed that exactly half of all British adults have compared themselves to others on the likes of Instagram, Facebook and Tik Tok.

People see how they stack up when it comes to holidays (45 per cent), weight loss (32 per cent), and fashion outfits (31 per cent). Relationships, home renovations and career developments are other ways adults compare their lives with others on social media. And over two-fifths also pit themselves against others when posting about weddings, hairstyles and back gardens.

Very often, social media paints an idyllic picture where everyone is more accomplished, happy and self-assured than you are, and therefore many people are putting pressure on themselves to fit in, which leads to an increase in stress. In fact, a quarter of adults mention they feel self-conscious when scrolling through posts online.

The study showed that over one in five admit they feel under pressure to live the ‘perfect life’ due to social media, with 52 per cent agreeing people only post the things they want others to see on their profiles.

As a result, 22 per cent embrace the trend of ‘Instagram vs Reality’ and agreed no one’s life is as perfect as it ever seems online.

The visibility of seeing other people getting things that you might want for yourself creates additional stress because you can see people doing what you wish you were doing. It makes you think that you’re missing out on this opportunity and can often knock you off balance.

26 per cent have felt the need to eat healthier and two in 10 have considered redecorating their home. A further 17 per cent have also felt the urge to buy a house of their own after seeing where others live via social media and 15 per cent have even thought about purchasing a new car.

Despite 42 per cent being happy with their current lifestyle, the study found that 19 per cent admitted seeing how others seemingly live makes them re-think their routine.

Additionally, 35 per cent of people who are married with children admit they are concerned about their own kids comparing themselves with others in the future. But 39 per cent agreed it is important to show the real side of parenting as well as all the perfect moments online.

The research was commissioned by RESCUE®, the UK’s number one emotional wellbeing brand, to remind everyone that life isn’t a picture-perfect Instagram feed and there are lots of small things we can do to help feel more in control, balanced and equipped for whatever the day holds. The new Balance & Positivity capsules from RESCUE® provide a gentle calming influence for a worried mind. These unique capsules are designed to support positivity and help you stay balanced throughout busy days. The vegan-friendly formula features the emotion and mood-balancing botanical Saffron, L-Theanine and B Vitamins* – the perfect addition to any wellness routine!



  1. Holidays / travelling
  2. Weight loss / muscle bulking
  3. Fashion / outfits
  4. Couples
  5. Clean/tidy homes
  6. Home renovations
  7. Careers
  8. Make-up
  9. Weddings
  10. Hair styles / hair cuts
  11. New home announcements
  12. Gardens
  13. Others in swimwear
  14. Interiors e.g. organized bookshelves
  15. Baking / cooking
  16. Engagement announcements
  17. Parties e.g. balloon arches
  18. Studies / education
  19. Cars
  20. Pregnancy announcements
  21. Children’s achievements
  22. Sports skills
  23. Birth stories
  24. Children smiling for photos
  25. Children learning to walk / talk

[1] Social Media Use and Its Connection to Mental Health: A Systematic Review, 2020


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