Feeling jealous? How to handle the green-eyed monster

Everybody gets jealous from time to time. Focusing inward, not outward, can ease those feelings. Credit: Jupiter Images
Everybody gets jealous from time to time. Focusing inward, not outward, can ease those feelings.
Credit: Jupiter Images

The question: Recently, a lot of my friends have been getting engaged, having babies and going on cool trips. Although I’m happy for them, I’m also envious. How do I deal with my jealousy?

A former dance teacher used to say, “Don’t bother comparing yourself to others. There will always be people better than you, and worse than you. The most important thing is to ask yourself, “Am I improving?”

Of course, this is often easier said than done. Not only are we constantly bombarded by advertisements preying on our insecurities, but recent studies show that social media sites actually feed jealousy by creating the illusion that other people are living happier, more fulfilled lives than our own. I say “illusion” because, as a Stanford University study seems to suggest, people often underestimate the discontent of others.

Most of us can expect to encounter the ugly green monster from time to time. And while we may never truly slay the beast, the following tips can help keep it at bay:

1) Acknowledge your jealousy without judgment. Envy is a universal human emotion that is at least as old as the Bible itself. The more you can own your feelings, the less likely you’ll act on them.

2) Get in touch with the aspiration and wishes underneath the envy. Are you jealous of your friend’s trip to Tuscany? Ask yourself what steps you might take to make travel plans of your own. It may take time, but setting an intention can point you in a positive direction.

3) Remember that each person has his or her own unique happiness recipe. Some people prefer roller coasters; still others would rather curl up with a book. Being attuned to your own life purpose, needs and accomplishments helps negate the need for comparisons.

4) Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to the person you were one year ago, five years ago or 10 years ago. Are you wiser, happier, more confident or peaceful? If so, take pride in your growth. If not, explore what has thrown you off course, or how you might improve your outlook.

5) An old saying goes, “Who is happy? He who is content with his lot.” Keep a daily gratitude list of the blessings in your life.

6) Volunteer. Helping those who are less fortunate will not only make you feel good, it will also keep things in perspective.

Kim Schneiderman is a psychotherapist and former journalist with a private practice in New York City. This column is not intended to be used as a substitute for a private consultation with a mental health professional, nor is this therapist to be held liable for any actions taken as a result of this column. If you have any concerns related to this column, make an appointment with a licensed mental health professional. Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…