By Aaron Surtees, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Director at City Hypnosis
Jealousy is one of the most common problems within relationships. It can completely alter the way you view certain situations and people, and in serious cases can often bring on destructive feelings of anxiety, panic and anger and physical reactions such as uncontrollable shaking and nausea.
Jealousy is likely to be caused by one specific negative situation, and as a reaction to this your brain can re-programme and allow this feeling to become a habit and escalate, especially when fronted with similar triggers to the first situation. This re-programming and habit-forming is why some people find themselves experiencing more jealous tendencies than others.
Feeling jealous can often lead you to feel insecure and behave in ways that are out of character; for example, many of my patients report that they want to check their partner's phone or email account or they may even become obsessively stalking their partner's social media channels. The key thing to understand is that jealousy is a common state-of-mind that many people experience on varying levels, but it can be managed and alleviated. Below I have listed my top tips for managing jealousy when you're in a relationship.
Identify what triggers your jealousy
In order to manage jealousy, it is important to identify what triggers these emotions. For example, this could be when your partner spends time with friends that you don't know, which could encourage you to feel left-out or suspicious about who these people are.
Take time out from the situation
Once the trigger(s) is identified it is so much easier to remove yourself from the situation and take time out. Concentrate on your breathing in order to help you take control of the situation and drink a cold glass of water.
Accept the situation and face it head on
Taking time out is important to help try and get you back into a positive mind-set. Don't try to fight the feelings of jealousy, accept that you are experiencing these emotions and try to face them head on. It is better to feel this emotion and let it go, than fighting it - that will take you longer to forget about.
Manage the way you think about jealousy
Once you are facing the emotions head on you can then start to manage them. One technique I ask patients to practice is a visualisation routine that is incredibly effective. Imagine the feeling of jealousy as a cloud in your mind, with your breathing pull it down into your heart, into your chest and then into your stomach. Then focus on pushing it back around into your arms. Once in your arms use your breathing to pull the cloud down to your hands and then push the cloud out of your hands as though you are pushing the feelings away and letting go of the jealousy.
Take control of the situation
Now that you have let go of the feelings it is easier to take control of the situation. By staying calm and concentrating on your breathing it will help you to think clearly about how you choose to handle your triggers, so when you go to pick up your partner's phone to check the messages, it will help you to consider the outcomes of your actions, and help you to realise that perhaps that isn't the best way to handle your feelings of jealousy, as checking the messages will ultimately damage the trust in the relationship. Instead I advocate speaking openly with your partner about your feelings and the triggers.
Incorporate breathing techniques into your day
I always encourage patients to spend about three minutes a day concentrating on breathing and really focusing on being 'present'. Take time to think about breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth and concentrate on this alone. This will help your mind and body relax and help you to feel accustomed to the practice, which you'll then start to incorporate into situations when you are faced with your triggers.
Aaron Surtees is Founder and Director of City Hypnosis , the leading London hypnotherapy clinic which offers complementary therapies to treat a wide range of phobias, anxieties and habits.
For further information about how hypnosis can help with anxieties and emotional wellbeing, or to book in for hypnotherapy with Aaron, please visit the City Hypnosis website. City Hypnosis also offers treatment via audio downloads, which are available to buy on the website .