Green-Eyed Monsters: The Destructive Impact of Envy on Mental Health 

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

Undoubtedly, when others talk about us, we pay attention to their words and, paradoxically, even more when these are bad words or lies. Usually, this kind of behavior is moved by envy, and it affects our emotional wellbeing, so how to control it? Let us review it.

According to Cambridge Dictionary [1] , envy is “to wish that you had something that another person has”; for Merriam-Webster, is “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage”. In conclusion, envy “is a feeling of grudging admiration and desire to have something that is possessed by another [2] ”.

Oliver Stone said, “never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy. Never underestimate that.” Josh Billings affirms, “love looks through a telescope; envy through a microscope.” And, according to Petrarch, “five enemies of peace inhabit within us: avarice, ambition, envy, anger and pride; if these were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.” Then, when someone experiences envy, they feel resentful or unhappy about another person’s possessions, achievements, or advantages.

Envy can be a destructive emotion both mentally and physically. Envious people tend to feel hostile, resentful, angry, and irritable. Such individuals are also less likely to feel grateful about their positive traits and their circumstances. Envy is also related to depression, anxiety, the development of prejudice, and personal unhappiness [3] .

According to the National Library of Medicine [4] , “individuals with high levels of envy will find these differences more salient and face more negative experiences as a result. These include feelings of inferiority, and dejection, which may lead to depression. Moreover, some empirical studies have indicated a positive correlation between envy and depression. Based on the literature, this study also hypothesizes that envy can positively predict depression.”

The University of Rochester [5] , gives us the difference between envy and jealously:

  • Envy: This happens when someone has something or benefit you want for yourself. For example, bigger offices, a larger paycheck, or a special privilege.
  • Jealously: This happens when you desire a relationship. For example, you might feel jealous if your supervisor and coworker are lunch buddies and leave you behind.

That is why according to Mindful Health Solutions [6] , “Through repetition, such experiences can lead to fear of abandonment and insecurity in relationships, resulting in a continued feeling of jealously. In addition, people may also form expectations of what others should do for them, and if these expectations are not met, they may experience harmful jealous feelings.”

Greater Good Magazine [7]  recommends “five ways to ease your envy”:

  1. Acknowledge envy.
  2. Recognize that pride is just the flip side of the envy coin.
  3. Replace envy with compassion.
  4. Let envy fuel self-improvement when appropriate.
  5. Do not forget to count your own blessings.

In conclusion, envy can have a significant effect on mental health. It is a natural emotion that we all experience from time to time, but when it becomes chronic or intense, it can lead to negative emotions and behaviors that can be detrimental to our mental wellbeing. It is essential to recognize envy as a warning sign and learn how to manage it in healthy ways to promote positive mental health.









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