Category: <span>social media</span>

It's not fair to compare: The Illusion of Social Media. 

It’s the end of the day and you decide to scroll through Facebook, Snap Chat or whatever social media site you use the most, while you’re laying down resting. You scroll past the passive aggressive comments and stop at a post a “friend” posted at an exotic location with a loved one. Another post shows off an engagement ring, and another of someone announcing they got a promotion at work.  You look at your life and feel less than them. You can’t help but feel a bit envious.

Comparing yourself to others is a sure way to lower your self worth. And that’s just not fair because you have no idea what’s behind the picture or status that’s posted on social media.

Yes there are people who vent about their problems for the world to see, but the majority of people always want to post only the good things.

People will post pictures of their “perfect” body but do not show themselves when they are sweaty or a mess during a work out.

Or posting about fun vacations but don’t say how hard it was to save for it, who really paid for it, or if they’re in more debt now.

Only looking at the end result and not the sacrifices, hard work or the journey of how they got there, does not give you an accurate picture of the truth.

The Social Comparison Theory states that we determine our own social and personal worth based on how we stack up against others. When you determine your self worth based on others, you’re guaranteed to not feel fulfilled.

Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to your previous self. What was your life like 6 months or a year ago? Five years ago? If you’re not happy with where you are, what is one action step you can take to get you closer to where you want to be?

Another way to feel less envious is to be happy for that person. They are a living example that the thing that you want can be achieved.  If they could do it, so could you.

Try to focus less on others and more on yourself. So take what you see online with a grain of salt and bring your attention back to your life. Because you’re the only person you can do something about.









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About the author.

Liza J Alvarado is a professional counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, adults, and Spanish speaking families in the Lehigh Valley, PA area.



Mental Health Resources

Pretty much everyone knows the benefits from therapy. But not everyone has the time or money to be able to get one-on-one help. With today’s technology, there are so many other resources that could help you. And if you are in therapy, some of these resources can complement the help you’re already getting.

Open path is a website where you can get online therapy from $30-$50 a session with a licensed therapist.  This is a great resource if you don’t have health insurance.

National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)- provides education and support to increase awareness and understanding of mental health.

There are many apps you can download. I wrote a blog post on some of my favorite mental health apps. I would suggest typing the mood you’re in in the app store search and download a few to find a few of your own favorites. online mental health resource for college students

National Suicide Hotline- text START to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-8255

GLBT National Help Line 1-888-843-4564

GLBT National Help Center for Youth. 1-800-246-7743

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7223

National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673

Psychology Today to find a therapist near you.

Center for Complicated Grief to find a list of resources for when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one.

Center Link is a center to support the LGBT community.

IMAlive lets you chat with supervised peer volunteers when ever you feel so down that picking up the phone to talk is too much. You can chat with someone and know that they will not judge you.

National Center for Victims of Crime provides resources of crime victims,  from bullying, physical abuse, stalking, and even terrorism.

National Eating Disorder Association

OK2Talk is designed for teens and young adults. The site is an online outlet for people to share their own stories. Good to find support and discuss coping with a diagnosis.

Co-occurring Disorders. Co-occurring disorders are when a person struggles with both a mental health disorder and addiction.


Positive Websites.

Did you know that statistically we live in the safest of times? Our health care is better than even just 20 years ago, our cars are safer, and thanks to the internet, we are more easily educated. But why does it feel like the world is getting worse?

The thing that allows us to be connected, also makes us think that the world is a horrible place. With the internet and television, we can know instantly when something bad is happening. And on TV, the bad news is repeated all day long.
We all know our media gives us 90% negative news and 10% good, if that. Yes bad things do happen everyday, but so do good things.

Here are some websites for you to check out when you need some inspiration, motivation or just want to grow and learn. I would suggest that you spend more time on sites like the ones below, and less time watching the news and reading up on negative stories.

Good News Network This is one of my favorite sites. Here you’ll find inspiring, positive news from around the world. They even have cute videos that make you smile and remind you that there are amazing people out there. Another site like Good News Network. Daily Good shares all positive news from around the world. They also share positive news in specific areas such as science, tech, and business.

Good is an online magazine focused on sharing positive news and ideas.

TED are talks about “ideas worth spreading”. They have talks on every topic you can think of. TED even has a phone app for you to watch the videos where ever you are.

ZenHabits ranks as one of the best motivational blogs on the web. It’s a simple site that focuses on sharing articles, some with tips, that can help you in your daily life.

The Huffington Post Good News section. The Huffington post tries to balance mainstream news with positive news. They have a section that’s all about good news. I really like the Huffington post because it gives us a balance. There are a lot of sections to the post so check out the site entirely.

The Happiness Project I heard about this site when I listened to the woman who owns it, Gretchen Rubin, on a podcast. She’s an author and wanted to know how we can create good habits and be happier. She did a bunch of experiments on herself to try to make good habits and feel happier, and she shares some of those ideas on the site.

Coursera Do you love to learn new things? Are you always trying to improve your skills? Coursera partners with some of the best colleges and universities to let you take online classes completely FREE. They’re legitimate classes so you’ll have homework and everything. Some are a few weeks long. Some could be longer. They’re free because you don’t get credit towards a degree. Anyone can sign up and take a class. You do get a certificate at the end of every class.


These are just a few of the sites I’ve been on but there are so many good resources out there. Try to be more mindful of what you watch and read. If you only see negativity, you’re going to believe that the world is a horrible place. But if you see the good things that are going on in the world, you’ll see that it’s not always a scary place. That there are good people out there.


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About the author.

Liza J Alvarado is a professional counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, young adults, and Spanish speaking families in the Bethlehem, PA area.


Favorite Mental Health Apps

Let’s be honest. You’re probably on your phone a few minutes after you wake up and check it over 100 times through out the day. You’re even probably on your phone right before falling asleep. This has become normal for us since our phones keep us connected to the world through social media, websites, texting, etc.

So why not use this same device to help you with your mental health? The following are some of the phone apps I recommend to clients. Most of them are for both ios and Android devices, but you’ll have to check when downloading them. These are just a few apps. I recommend you search on the app store “depression”, or “worry”, or whatever mood you are feelings. There are so many apps and even games that can help you cope with those symptoms.


Healthy Minds– This is one of my favorite apps to recommend to clients. You put in what mood you’re in, and depending on your mood, it gives you pages of coping skills to try, with the instructions. It even has a section where you can journal about what happened that made you feel the way you are feelings.

Moodtrack– This app is a good way to keep track of your moods and what is affecting them. This is a nice complement to attending therapy because you can go back and report exactly when you had certain moods. It even tracks your mood on a graph so you can see when you’re having certain feelings.

I am– I really like affirmations. Affirmations are a statement or saying you tell yourself that reminds you of your goal, or to stay focused. “This too shall pass” or “I am making changes in my life”, are examples of an affirmation. I am sends you push notifications throughout the day, with positive affirmations. You pick an area you want to work on, like self-esteem, and set up how often you want an affirmation to be sent.

Mindshift– This app helps you shift your thinking when feeling anxious. It also gives you exercises to practice.

Relax app– This is more of a game. It plays soothing music while the screen turns into stars on a black background. It looks like the Universe. Then when you move your fingers on the screen, the stars move and change.  I like to play with it to relax.

CBT-i Coach– This app was made for Veterans but anyone can use it. This app also compliments therapy. It keeps track of your sleep patterns. It also gives you exercises, such as guided meditations, to help you sleep.

TaoMix– This app lets you customize relaxing sounds. You can add sounds of birds, ocean waves, a river stream, or so many other soothing sounds. You customize the sounds you like, then use it as background noise to help you sleep, or while  doing work, or meditating.

Take a Break– Don’t have a whole lot of time to relax? Take a Break gives you short guided meditations to give you a break. In as little of 7 minutes, you can gather yourself and give yourself a break. If you DON’T have 7 minutes, then you REALLY need this!

Breath2Relax– This is another app where you’re guided during breathing exercises. For some people, having a voice guide them helps them focus better than if they tried to do breathing exercises on their own.

Happify– Another one of my favorites. This app focuses on the positives in your life through different activities. It asks you to do a check-in to see how happy you feel. It also gives you fun games that focus on gratitude and optimism. I love the positive videos that are on the app. You can even give encouragement to others in the Happify community.  It is free but you can buy it to unlock more tracks.


“Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.” -Christian Lous Lange

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About Liza J Alvarado, MS, LPC

Liza J Alvarado is a professional counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, young adults, and Spanish speaking families in the Bethlehem, PA area.





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