Asking for a Friend: Help! I’m always worried and jealous – what can I do to get over these negative feelings?

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  • Each week, we respond to a question from our readers and give advice and resources they can turn to
  • This week, we help a student who wants to know how they can control a bad mood that never seems to go away
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What can you do when you’re always in a bad mood? Photo: Shutterstock

Need an answer to a personal question that you’ve never mustered the courage to ask? We’ve been there. Whether it is about school, family issues or social life, share your thoughts with us. If you have a question you’d like answered (about anything at all), please fill out this Google Form. Don’t worry – you will remain anonymous!

Dear Friend,

I always get frustrated and jealous of my friends and am always in a bad mood no matter what. I feel worried about everything. I don’t like feeling like this, but I can’t control it. What should I do?

Best, Restless

Journaling can help you reduce stress and process your emotions

Dear Restless,

Negative emotions like jealousy, frustration, anxiety, fear, hate, anger, and sadness are completely natural. However, long-lasting or intense periods of these feelings can make us dislike ourselves and others, reduce our confidence and self-esteem, and interfere with our ability to accomplish our goals.

These negative emotions can stem from a wide variety of sources. Sometimes they are the result of specific experiences or events, but they can also stem from underlying issues like insecurity or feeling like you don’t belong, as well as relationship problems or inadequate coping skills.

Here are a few things you can do the next time you’re feeling jealous or worried:

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– Recognise and acknowledge your emotions. Try to identify the source of these feelings and what triggers them so you can prepare your coping skills in advance. Do you get jealous when you hear about your friends’ good grades, or when they talk about things they buy or their boyfriend/girlfriend? Do these emotions come from something they point out to you, or is it something you notice on your own? What unfulfilled need does this bring up in you?

– Talk to someone you trust, because this can help you make more sense of your feelings and figure out what underlying psychological need is causing them.

Talking with someone is a great way to work through emotions. Photo: Shutterstock

– Learn how to manage your stress. Relaxation exercises and meditation can help you improve your mood, or at least teach you how to let some things go.

– Try some pleasant activities like reading, walking or listening to music. Make time to do things you enjoy or try something new.

– Exercise! It can provide an emotional lift and an outlet for negative emotions.

The mental and physical benefits of stretching

– Make it a habit to notice and focus on what’s good in your life, no matter how small it is. It may help to write these things down so you can review them when things are tough.

If you continue to have trouble overcoming your jealousy, frustration, anxiety and sadness, seek medical help as soon as possible. In some cases, these persistent feelings might be a sign of a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety.

Hope this helps, Friend of a Friend

The question was answered by clinical psychologists from the Department of Health under Shall We Talk, a mental health initiative launched with the Advisory Committee on Mental Health.

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