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.
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.
Photo by Pete Bellis and Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash