It’s perfectly natural to feel pangs of jealousy now and then – whether you’re envious of a friend’s new job or someone on Facebook who seems to have their life sorted. It’s hard not to compare our lives to others or wish that we looked as good as a celebrity on Instagram.
Read on to learn more about the psychology of jealousy and take our quiz to find out if you’re secretly a green-eyed monster.
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Why am I jealous?
Jealousy is a perfectly natural emotion which can be caused by a range of factors including rage, fear and humiliation. You might be jealous of a partner, but jealousy isn’t limited to romance – you can be envious of a friend, colleague or a sibling too.
It’s natural to want to brush off or hide your jealousy, but this isn’t necessarily a healthy thing to do. Envy can be a wake-up call that leads you to reassess your relationships; if something’s not right then you need to come up with a way to fix it.
We’ve evolved to be this way to protect our social relationships, so jealousy can’t be helped.
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Is jealousy always bad for you?
Psychologists are divided on this, but jealousy at work can actually have a positive effect. If a colleague is doing well and you become jealous of her, it can motivate you to work harder and improve your skills.
Jealousy in a relationship can be toxic, but there are some circumstances where it can actually be beneficial and bring you and your partner closer together.
When is jealousy unhealthy?
While a little jealousy can motivate you, it’s important to recognise when it’s moving into unhealthy territory. Extreme jealousy can be destructive to both your relationships and your health.
Jealousy can have a real impact on your physical and mental health. It can cause sleeplessness, anxiety and even depression. Read some tips for coping with jealousy here.