Is Envy in Your Social Circles a Bad Thing?

Posted By Carmen |


A new study finds that social media sites can often make you envious.

Psychologists are now saying social media sites have become huge sources of modern envy.

A study published by researchers in the journal PLOS ONE found that the more people used Facebook, the less satisfied they were with their lives. In another study of 600 Facebook users, German researchers say they witnessed the “rampant nature of envy” on social networking sites.

But is it a Bad Thing?

Social Media Can Create EnvyThe study makes it sound as if envy can be all negative, but psychologists say there are two kinds: malicious and benign. With malicious envy, you may want to downplay or undermine another person’s success. Benign envy could inspire you to work smarter and achieve more at work.

In a 2011 study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers conducted a series of experiments with 200 university students. They found that when they triggered feelings of benign envy, it drove the students to want to study more and perform better on a test measuring creativity and intelligence.

At Texas Christian University, researcher Sarah E. Hill says, “Those painful pangs of envy are there for an evolutionary reason, alerting us that someone has something of importance to us.” They found that envy improves attention and memory, tools needed to move toward success. Study subjects were more astute.

Envy works at the office, too. A Harvard Business Review paper examined envy through the eyes of hundreds of executives over a 10-year period. They found that unchecked envy damaged careers.

They also found that the “envy reflex” can point you in the right direction, focusing your time and attention on areas that are important.

To guard against the malicious trap, researchers suggest taking stock of your own achievements when faced with thoughts of envy. Remember, properly acknowledged envy can really be a good thing when handled appropriately. Just make sure you “envy” in the most productive way!

To your hugely prosperous success!
Carmen Wisenbaker
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