The Blue Day Buster – Downward Social Comparison

Who needs a second house by the beach with its headache

It’s not exactly nice, but I have a feeling I’m not alone, it is this thinking process – comparing myself with somebody else that I perceive as more miserable than I’m makes me feel happy. The psychology of downward social comparison* is really at work today. 🙂

This afternoon, I found my garbage disposal leaking water. There is no way we can avoid replacing it if we don’t want to have a Venetian canal in our house. This means: Money! Ouch. I guess this is why we have emergency fund, but still, it’s a hassle. Plus I know, this is not going to be the last repair we have to do for this house. Well, that’s the reality of living in a 30+ years old house. I love this house, but sometimes, it does shows its age.

Feeling down, I took a break and went browsing at NY Times and found this article: If It Causes Stress, Is It Really a Vacation Home? The article said that having a second home is not an investment, is less relaxing, is time-consuming, and is confounding. Plus, you may have an awful neighbor whose hobby is getting into your business and reporting your “violation” to the board.

After reading this, I gradually feel lucky of having only one old house and even though it shows its age, it works as expected most days of the year. I have no complaint about my neighbors either. We look after each other house and keep our neighborhood safe. Ah… I’m feeling better. 🙂  In light of this, I’m going to note downward social comparison as one of the tools in combating feeling blue.

How about you? What do you do when you are feeling blue? Do you sometimes use this tool of purposely think of somebody/something that seems to be less fortunate than yourself?

*Oh, my best friend, Wikipedia, said this about downward social comparison:

Downward social comparison acts in the opposite direction. Downward social comparison is a defensive tendency to evaluate oneself with a comparison group whose troubles are more serious than one’s own. This tends to occur when threatened people look to others who are less fortunate than themselves. Downward comparison theory emphasizes the positive effects of comparisons, which people tend to make when they feel happy rather than unhappy. For example, a breast cancer patient may have had a lumpectomy, but sees herself as better off than another patient who lost her breast (Suls, Martin & Wheeler 2002).

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9 Responses to The Blue Day Buster – Downward Social Comparison

  1. Leslie says:

    That sucks about the disposal! Those can get expensive to fix.

  2. Yup! Don’t see any other choice though. Oh well… gotta work with whatever is given, right? 🙂

  3. Is that kind of like the Pollyanna theory, about when she got a doll without an arm, at least she didn’t get one without two missing arms? Don’t we try to build ourselves up by realizing things could be worse? However, instead of focusing on “worse” I always like to focus on making things better:!

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      Downward social comparison has the same purpose with Pollyanna, but not quite the same. Pollyanna tries to find good thing in bad situation so that she can feel better but it does not specify the mechanism.

      Downward social comparison is a specific mechanism to get to feel better by thinking of others that have worst situation (ah, I don’t have a leg, but look there are people who don’t have two legs!). One can also make oneself feel better by thinking about other aspects of his/her life that go well (ah, I don’t have a leg, but I have great parents!). Or another mechanism is by not thinking about the problem as well/denial (what’s the problem??). Or like you said, by finding ways to make things better (I guess this will be what can I do with one leg?).

      The many ways to make oneself feel better…. 🙂

  4. Leslie says:

    You can focuses on the Upper Eyelid. i use this tutorial because it goes step by step

  5. D.Rene. says:

    Well, according to my significant other, I start arguments when I’m blue. I think he’s right. Maybe I’ll try your technique.

  6. Pingback: Before You Get Upset at Your Husband, May Be You Want Do These First: Tips to Navigate Out of the Blue Mood | Adventurer101's Blog

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