A little jealousy is natural, but dwelling on it brings anger and bitterness into your life. It can even bring physical pain if it’s severe enough. Eventually, it takes a toll both mentally and physically. Pent up jealousy can lead to constant anger, obsessive thoughts and violent acts like abuse. It also can alienate partners, friends and family, since it’s difficult to be around someone who is bitter.
Psychologists recommend you look at jealousy as something positive rather than something negative. Recognizing your envy can serve as a relationship wake-up call. Jealousy can save our lives. If you’re aware of it and able to talk about what’s causing it, you can deepen your relationship or use it to your advantage. For example, if you are jealous that your friend can play the piano, why not sign up for lessons?
Ideas to help ease jealous thoughts:
Talk about it: Jealousy is not something that most people want to talk about, but in order to heal, you’ll have to be open. If you have children, teach them from an early age that a little bit of jealousy is a normal human emotion, and that they should talk about it.
If we normalize it, then people will become aware and think, ‘Oh this is a really bad feeling that’s getting me nowhere. How can I get a handle on it?’ No matter who your jealousy is directed to, figure out if there is a valid reason. If so, address it and work on your relationship. If your jealousy is unfounded, have a conversation to let them know you are trying to control your suspicion.
Find a positive affirmation: Loving yourself is really important for your overall well being. This is especially true if you’re trying to heal from jealousy. Studies show that when people are stressed and they say a positive affirmation, it reduces cortisol levels in a few minutes. A Carnegie Mellon University study found self-affirmation tactics, like identifying values, boosted their problem solving ability.
Find and memorize a phrase that resonates with you. A quick online search will lead you to thousands of mantras. Pick your favorite and try repeating it when you’re stressed or trying to overcome jealousy.
Be positive: It also helps to think of your positive traits when you notice that you’re comparing yourself to others. For example, if you’re jealous of how much free time your friend has to play sports with their child, remind yourself of the time you spend with your family.
Jealousy is very emotional and, at times, difficult to work through. Acknowledge your feelings, talk with the person involved and shift your mindset to the positive parts of your life. These steps can help you break free from envious thoughts.