5 Quick Tips for Envy
Strategies you can use when you find yourself feeling envious.
Posted Apr 06, 2013
1. Don't fight with your feelings.
When you fight with your feelings, they fight back. Typically anything you to do try to push away intrusive, unwanted thoughts will result in experiencing higher frequency of those thoughts.
2. Don't go down the rabbit hole of "Why do I think/feel the way I do?"
Do you find yourself thinking things like:
"Why do I feel like this?"
"What kind of person am I if I feel like this?"
"Why can't I be as successful as I want to be?"
Thinking these types of thoughts without it ever leading to anything useful is termed rumination. When you mood is low it's highly unlikely you'll have any useful insights so give yourself a break from overthinking and trust that feelings naturally ebb and flow without you needing to do anything.
Changing your behavior is usually the best way to change your thoughts and feelings. Practice making positive comments and gestures when someone in your life experiences some kind of success. For example, send an email or a card to a friend who gets a promotion.
Try an experiment of doing this regularly for 6 months and see if your issues with envy subside.
4. Challenge thought distortions such as "Nothing ever goes right for me" or "I never get any support."
5. Recognize opportunity cost.
The term "Opportunity Cost" refers to the idea that whenever we choose one thing we are by default not choosing other things.
We all choose our own path and inevitably this means we don't get to experience other paths. For example, a friend who takes a lot of overseas trips is probably giving up other things like dinners out and fancier furniture. Everybody makes their own choices and no one escapes opportunity cost.
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You can read my prior articles for Psychology Today here.