Making positive life comparisons

We've teamed up with leading psychologist, Donna Dawson, to provide guidance and advice on the most productive forms of comparison.

family standing outside house - E.ONOur research1 shows that UK adults spend over 10 hours a week comparing themselves to others, with 29% driven by a desire to learn, 28% interested in how they stack up against others and 28% interested in getting new ideas.

It seems that self-comparisons can make us feel happier about our lives, with more than three million people2 claiming that day-to-day life comparisons make them feel more positive.

We've teamed up with leading psychologist, Donna Dawson who's got some top tips to help people make positive life comparisons. Take a look at our tips below, and then you can see how your energy use stacks up against other E.ON homes, by using our new Saving Energy Toolkit.

Donna Dawson's Top Tips for making positive life comparisons

  • Reflect on what you’ve already got:Make a list of all the things that you’ve achieved in your life so far. Include everything, material and immaterial, physical and mental. Now, on the right hand side, put down all the things that you still want to achieve in your life, and all the things that you don’t feel good about. Odds are that the left side is far longer than the right side.
  • Turn envy into motivation: Train yourself to be admirable and inquisitive of others – not envious. So they’ve obtained something that you want? Good for them! How did they do it? Maybe they’re doing something that you’re not. If you can’t change your behaviour then change your attitude: don’t punish yourself with trying to achieve anything that is truly out of reach. Set yourself new goals, and then move on.
  • Discount the critic in your head Every one of us has a negative little voice lodged at the back of our minds, telling us what failures we really are. Without realising it, we are constantly listening to this voice in the comparisons that we make, and silently, subconsciously agreeing. We need to consciously face up to this ‘negative voice’, and then get down to some logical problem-solving: how could you get around the obstacles your mind foresees? Imagine the very worst that could happen if you took a particular course of action, then imagine surviving it with a “Plan B”.
  • Compare the right things: From time to time, we need to stop and question our own values. Is it really important that the guy next door has a bigger house or more expensive car? What is really important in life? Do those to whom we constantly compare ourselves truly measure up in the most important areas – of happiness, health, spiritual values and personal development? Do your own inventory on them and work it out.
  • "Humanise" the competition: Get to know the individuals that always seem to irk you with their wellbeing, achievements or successes. Get to know their problems, struggles, and personal tragedies (we all have them, only some people are better at hiding it from others and putting on a ‘successful’ front). Then see if you would really swap your lot for theirs – chances are that you wouldn’t! For every success, there is always a price to be paid or a sacrifice to be made, whether big or small.