It’s not just you. Research shows we’re all more likely to be jealous of pals and peers than strangers. We compare ourselves to people we think are like us— from age, to gender, to interests— and when we see ourselves as inferior, we let the envy monster take over. That envy may not only make us want what others have, but also want them to not have it either. This psychological reaction is so strong learning about the misfortunes of people we know can actually activate pleasure mechanisms in the brain more than the misfortunes of strangers.
But there’s still hope in harnessing the green monster— no Hulking out allowed. Go ahead, compliment the coworker who got your raise… and use their success as motivation. Help it drive you to make one healthier choice per day (the Greatist way). Keeping things positive can help prevent a full-blown rivalry.
The Takeaway: Instead of letting jealousy take over, use that energy to improve yourself.
Hooray for Hugs
Hugging it out can also help deal with negative emotions. Not to mention, hugs could help reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
The word “jealousy” comes from a root word meaning “possessive and suspicious” and was traditionally used in a romantic context.