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9 Ways to Prevent Envy from Negatively Impacting your Life

min read

By Debbie McGauran

Envy or jealousy is a negative emotion that surfaces when you compare what you have to what others have. If left unchecked, it’s a good way to make your life miserable. Jealousy can make you feel hard done by, and this type of victim mentality can be damaging to your physical and mental health. Envy can foster distress, lead to resentment, and set us on the road to depression.

Let’s take a closer look at nine ways you can prevent envy from negatively impacting your life…


1. Be Grateful for What You Have

All too often people get caught up in what others have achieved or are awarded rather than appreciate what blessings are happening in their own lives. When we do this we only look at what the other person has received and not the cost they may have paid to get there.

For example, if somebody inherits a large sum of money, it’s easy to forget this happened because their mother or father passed away. The pain and grief is a horrible price to pay for an inheritance.


2. Develop an Abundant Outlook

If you change your outlook and how you perceive your circumstances—you can improve your health on all fronts. You reduce the production of the stress hormone, reduce your anxiety, and are able to think clearer. This in turn leads to better problem solving.

When you view the world full of abundance, then you open yourself up to receiving it in your own life. This opens up your mind to possibilities and opportunities you may not have previously considered. When you view the glass as half full versus half empty your focus is really there in front of you instead of the abstract illusion of what is missing.

Positive Thinking

3. Steer Clear of Those Who Value the Wrong Things

People who value material possessions above all else are not happy. They can’t seem to fill their cup no matter how hard they try. Negative people tend to surround themselves with other negative people. This coping strategy only serves to keep them stuck. It helps justify their own negative perceptions and keeps them locked into a maladaptive thinking pattern.

On the flip side, successful people surround themselves with other successful individuals. This helps them to stay motivated, stay goal focused, and envision the abundant opportunities available.


4. Set Goals and Plan for your Own Success

Setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timed) is the first step on your road to success. Doing this forces you to define what is important to you and makes you accountable.  Having written goals translates into a plan.

Taking action and implementing your plan means you are well on your way to success. You won’t have time to envy anyone else’s success as you’ll be too busy achieving your own. Having a well thought out, clearly defined, written plan of action is empowering. It makes you feel good about yourself by increasing your self-esteem, relieving stress, and by providing hope and guidance.

Goal Setting

5. Compete Against Yourself

Comparing yourself to others is futile and unrealistic. They have different strengths, weakness and life circumstances than you have. They are constantly evolving which means you can never truly compete with them. By the time you catch up they may have surpassed you again or taken a completely different direction. It’s impossible to measure true goal achievement against another’s. There are too many variables out of your control to successfully compete against another.

If you want results the answer is to compete against yourself. This makes your goals achievable. Elite Olympic athletes compete against themselves to measure their success. Their place on the podium is a result of their determination to better their own performance. The measuring stick they use is their past best performance not that of others. This gives them a clear indication as to whether or not they’re improving.


6. Cultivate Friendships with Grateful People

There is an old saying, “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” When you cultivate friendships with positive, grateful people, their attitudes and beliefs rub off on you. They help to keep you grounded and remind you of your blessings.

It’s far too easy to take the good things in your life for granted and fall back into destructive thinking patterns. Grateful people can help you keep a more realistic perspective and prevent you from “awfulizing” your current situation. They help you to see positive possibilities, and help you to grow your own attitude of gratitude.


7. Recognize Marketing Ploys at Work

One of the ways in which marketers try to convince you to buy their products is by making you envious of others. They tug at your “I want” strings. Commercials are designed to make you covet a product or service. They portray others enjoying the product. Laughing and having a good time. Marketers want you to buy into their portrayal of success so that you buy their product.

Credit card and loan companies are notorious playing into for this.  They attempt to define what success should look like for you. A new car, a new house, or a fancy vacation. Then they tell you not to worry about the money, they’ve got you covered. However they don’t tell you about the hidden costs or exorbitant interest rates. They’re not really interested in your happiness or success. They’re interested in their own.

Financial Problems

8. Be Happy for Others

Cultivating the ability to be happy for others is good for you. It dissolves the negative emotion of envy and lifts the weight of negativity from your back. Jealousy is an emotion that can weigh you down and lead to depression. Being happy for others allows you to move forward unencumbered on your own road to happiness.

Your generosity of spirit will also attract positive people into your life. Your attitude may open doors that otherwise may have been closed to you. Celebrating someone else’s success and good fortune paves the way for your own. It keeps your mind clear of negative thoughts and clears the way for your own success.


9. Give Back

Give back to others. Your time. Your money. Your expertise. Volunteer at a hospital, nursing home or homeless shelter. There are always other people worse off than you. Giving of yourself will not only benefit others but it will do wonders for you.  It helps reduce stress. Gets your mind off of your own problems. Helps you gain a new perspective on life and makes both you and the other person both feel good.

Giving back to others makes room for more abundance to flow back in your direction. It will lift your mood, brighten your spirit and put a smile on many faces. So take a moment to give back today. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Holding the door for an elderly person or putting a handful of loose change in Salvation Army kettle. It doesn’t matter how small, giving back will have a positive impact in your life.

volunteer 2

Debbie McGauran


Debbie has been a registered nurse for over 25 years with experience in geriatrics, medicine, surgery and mental health. For the past four years, she has practiced as a crisis nurse in the ER. Debbie lives on a farm with her family, two dogs, a cat, and four horses.

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