How to Stop Getting Jealous, According to Experts

Jealousy is something that all of us have experienced in life, usually as a result of somebody having something that we want for ourselves.

One of the most painful ways the green-eyed monster rears its head is in romantic relationships, both before and during a partnership. We may find ourselves doubting our partner's loyalty, or coveting the attention that they give to their hobbies or friends over us, which leads to pain for both parties.

Elena Zaharova, CEO and co-founder of Purpur App, a therapy game that helps partners communicate openly about sex and relationships, told Newsweek: "Jealousy is your reaction to feeling insecure and apprehensive about your partner and—what's more important—yourself.

"The reasons are manifold: from lack of self-confidence (internal conflict) to misinterpreting the words and behavior of the partner (external conflict)."

jealous partner
Stock image of a jealous woman checking her partner's phone. Jealousy can arise from feelings of insecurity within a relationship. iStock / Getty Images Plus

Poor self-image and fixation on personal insecurities can make us suspicious and instill a fear of being betrayed, Zaharova said, while misunderstandings stem from the lack of open communication and discussions of moments that trigger negative reactions.

"Whatever the reason that compels you to behave this way, you should see jealousy as a clear signal to work on your internal problems," she said.

According to Peter Piraino, CEO of Burning Tree Programs, a mental health and addiction treatment center, the emotional impact of envy can manifest as physical reactions similar to anxiety.

"Your body can tense up or your heart can beat faster. Often, jealousy can produce feelings of anger and resentment which can lead to reduced sleep, poor physical and mental health patterns," he told Newsweek.

It can be challenging to control feelings of jealousy, and fighting it can instead lead to further guilt and internal turmoil.

"Instead, practicing acceptance of the complex emotional reaction enables you to tune inward and better understand it," Marisa T. Cohen, a relationship scientist and relationship coach, told Newsweek.

"It is then helpful to self-reflect to understand the source, or perhaps learn something new from this reaction. For example, if feeling jealous of your partner's close relationship with another person, you may want to investigate the level of emotional intimacy you and your partner currently have. Perhaps you may identify areas for improvement. Better understanding the source of our insecurities and clearly sharing our needs are healthy ways to express and channel jealousy."

Some methods to manage these feelings can be learned from self-introspection or therapy, Piraino said.

jealous woman
Stock image of a woman looking jealously at two people drinking together. According to experts, it is helpful to self-reflect to understand the source of jealousy. iStock / Getty Images Plus

"Write a gratitude list. Write down all the things in your life you have and are grateful for. This exercise can be done anywhere or anytime and the experience can be eye-opening. Meditate. Take five minutes to remind yourself that you are worthy and enough. Slow deep breathing combined with a positive internal dialogue can work wonders for our self-esteem hence subsiding jealousy," he said.

"Stop thinking about what you deserve or are entitled to and get out and help someone. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, help a co-worker with a project or carry your neighbor's groceries. Acts of service not only make the world a better place but also help build your social support group while helping you to feel better about the person you are."