How do you put it all in perspective and not let your cyber friends' "ups" get you down? Read on for experts' advice on how to get your cyber envy in check.

How to conquer your online jealousy

Does this sound familiar: You're clicking through the photos on your high school friend's wall and you start to feel jealous. She's posing with her family in some exotic location, she's standing with her children in front of their big, new house, she and her husband and children are professionally photographed in matching outfits looking like they don't have a care in the world. This mom seems to have it all. And you're left feeling, well, green with envy because you haven't been on a vacation in years and you and your tween had an argument this morning.

‪Cyber life doesn't equal real life

"Women don't post pictures of the dinner they burned last night or themselves when they wake up in the morning on Facebook."

Therapist Julie Hanks, LCSW, owner and executive director of Wasatch Family Therapy, cautions women to remember that a digital life is the best version of someone, not the entire picture. "Someone's cyber life is the equivalent to a perpetual first date. Women don't post pictures of the dinner they burned last night or themselves when they wake up in the morning on Facebook. They don't take videos of the fight they had with their hubby right before they went to dinner on the exotic beach in the Caribbean. Every woman has strengths and weaknesses, things that are going well and things that are falling apart!" ‬

Eliminate the 'shoulds'

Hanks urges women to remove the shoulds from their vocabulary. "When you see someone's newly decorated kitchen or family photo with matching outfits, it's easy to turn those feelings of envy into 'shoulds'... I should get family photos taken like that, or I should redecorate my kitchen but that doesn't mean you should do anything about it," says Hanks. ‬

Envy doesn't add anything to your life

Christina Steinorth, M.A., MFT psychotherapist and author of Cue Cards for Life: Gentle Reminders for Better Relationships stresses that envy doesn't make you a better person. "It doesn't make you smarter, better looking or any happier. If you find that you can't help yourself from experiencing cyber envy, limit your time online looking at other people's lives to a maximum of 10 minutes a day. This will help you break the cycle of cyber envy by limiting your exposure and more importantly, it will get you back into your own life so you can live it," says Steinorth.

Take a digital time-out

Hanks agrees with Steinorth to take a few days off from Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or blog reading to let your emotions cool, adding, "Investing more time and energy in your face-to-face relationships and focusing on the blessing you enjoy can help shift your focus from what you wish you had to what you do have. Challenge yourself to go for a walk with the family and leave your smartphone (gasp!) at home so you can practice being emotionally present in your relationships. Your family will thank you."

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Take a look at your life

Stephanie Sarkis PhD, psychotherapist and author suggests taking a step back and looking at your life outside of social network sites. "Are you feeling fulfilled? Is there something in your life that just doesn't feel right? Sometimes envy of others means we are missing something in our own lives."

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Let envy inspire you

Hanks says instead of letting envy fester or elicit negative feelings about yourself, let it be inspirational. "For example, if you see some amazing photos online from someone's week-long family cruise, instead of thinking, 'I'm a horrible mom... Our family has never taken a cruise... What losers!', you can think instead, 'That looks fun. I think it's time to start planning and saving to take my family on a fun trip.'"

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Tags: jealousy mom friends

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Comments on "Moms: Do you have cyber envy?"

Melissa June 11, 2012 | 12:19 PM

People need to stop spending so much time wanting what others have and bashing them for it while complaining about their own lives. I get bashed often in the blogosphere for what I have and its sad because instead off you makign your lives better you spend your day complaining about what I have.

Emily June 05, 2012 | 3:11 PM

I will admit I do sometimes get jealous when on facebook. I see friends going out all the time with their friends and boyfriends/husbands, and I'm at home with my baby while my husband works 12+ hour days. I try to remember that yes, only the good is posted on facebook. Also, everyone's life is different and no one has an easy or perfect life. Being thankful for what you have can change your attitude immediately.

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