Banish jealousy - it's bad for your health
Wednesday 08 July 2009
Jordan hit the headlines today after seemingly overhauling her image into a more demure, ladylike style. Compared with her salacious, scantily-clad antics in Ibiza two weeks previously, the outfit seemed a little out of character.
What’s more, this new image coincided with the news that Pete had been spotted with Chantelle Houghton (a slightly more ladylike figure than Ms Price), giving the impression of a knee-jerk jealous response: something that is becoming increasingly common these days.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve your life, be it through achieving new things at work, keeping up appearances with your friends or perhaps staying in touch with an ex-partner.
But the influence of other people may cause you to think negatively about yourself, as jealousy becomes more and more accepted in life.
Other people may have influenced you without realising. For example, you might have lost your job or taken a pay cut in the recession, but a friend working elsewhere has just been promoted. Maybe your ex, who treated you terribly, has a new girlfriend whom he lavishes with attention.
The way you react to instances like this, however, could have a serious impact on your health and well-being.
People who feel jealous or inferior around their friends, family and neighbours have higher instances of heart disease, diabetes, ulcers and high blood pressure.
Not to mention that feeling envious of people may cause you to dress, talk or act differently from your usual personality, a la the new, ‘classier’ Jordan.
The problem behind uncontrollable envy? It’s all down to confidence and self-image. People who have a high sense of self-esteem might feel a pang of envy when they see someone they perceive to be ‘better’ than them, but they’re comfortable enough with themselves that they know not to see it as their problem.
If you’re low on self-esteem, you may find that you use material things to compensate for your perceived weaknesses, or that you constantly compare and rank yourself among your friends and relatives.
Some people also see ‘better’ people and attempt to mimic them in personality or lifestyle, as they see that person succeed and want to emulate that for themselves. If they feel out of place, feelings of anxiety and stress might be elevated.
If you’ve got the blues, be it due to a rich friend or just from seeing celebrities out on the town, we’ve got a way to turn your envy into something productive. If you can change that little flash of jealousy as a way of improving on your flaws, rather than getting hung up on why you’re not someone else, you’ll be better healthier, both emotionally and physically.
Here are our top five jealousy-inducing situations, and how to turn them around in your favour.
Your ex has a new girlfriend
We saw the pictures of Jordan out and about after hearing the news about Pete and Chantelle’s alleged trysts. Is it any coincidence that she was then spotted out and about with a demure choice of outfits and a solemn face? Jordan may have been suffering from a touch of ‘grass is greener’ syndrome; despite the fact that Pete was the victim of sex bans and Jordan’s temper when the pair were married. The same can happen when you see the product of a failed relationship with a new girlfriend.
What you think: His new girlfriend is prettier than me. He treats her better than me. There’s obviously something wrong with me. I hate her.
What you should think: Just because her treats her differently, it doesn’t mean he always will. If it didn’t work for the two of us, I will never be happy with him. They are in public, after all; there’s no way to tell if he’s happy behind closed doors. Besides, we broke up: I am better off alone than in a relationship that doesn’t work.
Someone gets promoted above you at work
Someone below you has just been promoted to a higher-up position – even though you had been working at your company for longer. They might carry out their job in a way that’s different to you, or maybe you object to the way they treat their colleagues, and you’re baffled as to why they were chosen for a high-profile position over you.
What you think: That is so unfair! I’ve obviously tried harder and deserve it more than they do – I was here first. I must be undervalued by my boss, even though I love my job.
What you should think: They must be really good at their job to receive a promotion over me. I should keep an eye on how they work and pick up a few tips. Maybe I’m so good at my current role that my boss doesn’t want to lose me.
You're envious of celebrities' lifestyles
Picture this: You spot Cheryl Cole out on the town, with perfect hair and makeup, a killer outfit complete with designer handbag. But her ensemble is worth thousands of pounds, which isn’t exactly feasible for a normal person, even if you earn more than the national average salary.
What you think: She’s so much better looking than me. Why can’t I have nice things? I don’t have any talent and I’ll never look as good as her. Maybe if I buy that bag, I’ll be just like her.
What you should think: Cheryl (along with most celebs) has a stylist and makeup artists to make her look good – if I had my own staff, I’d look amazing too! Plus, she was probably given the bag for free, and blowing my mortgage payments on a bag wouldn’t make me happy – I’d only want something different after using it for a week. I can still look fab with the right high-street clothes!
Your best friend loses a stone
Despite the fact that you work out relentlessly and follow your diet plan to a T, your friend cuts out wheat from her diet and the pounds fall off in a month. While you’re thrilled for your friend, you can’t help but feel a pang of resentment when you see her in a tiny body-con dress when you’re on a night out with her.
What you think: Why can’t I look like that? Everyone thinks she’s better than me. She’s obviously done this on purpose to make me look bad.
What you should think: Wow, she’s lucky. My metabolism obviously isn’t like that, though, so I should stick with the diet and exercise. Besides, she might have been cutting a few sneaky calories on the side without letting on, so people don’t speculate about her eating habits. Anyway, when I tone up I can borrow her amazing new clothes!
“Everyone has more money than me”
It’s the ultimate situation to make people feel bitter and jealous: you’re out to dinner with your friends or family, and watching them order cocktails, appetisers and pricey main courses abound. Meanwhile, you’re sipping on tap water and skipped your starter to save cash. After the awkwardness that comes when you dispute the idea of splitting the bill equally, you end up feeling a bit awkward.
What you think: It’s not fair that they have so much money. I work just as hard as they do, so why can’t I afford it? I deserve to live as well as they do. I bet they’re judging me because I don’t spend as much money as them.
What you should think: Maybe they spend less money elsewhere and like to splash out on a night out, or maybe they’re spending beyond their means to keep up appearances. Either way, as long as I’m not getting into the red, they can do whatever they want with their lives!
By Amy Bangs