Jealousy can be an overwhelming feeling. And in the heat of the moment, if your mind wanders to the worst possible scenario—what if he/she’s cheating!—it can be hard to think of reasons not to act on it.
But being jealous all the time, especially when our partners haven’t given us any reason to feel that way, can put a serious strain on relationships. So for Vice.com’s self improvement series this week, I talked to Brynn Wallace, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in mindfulness and somatic therapy about what we can do when those instincts hit.
A key point Wallace makes is to be aware of what happens in your mind and body when you’re feeling jealous, and to recognize those signals and the things that trigger them. You could be fearful because your partner did something that reminded you of a past trauma, and your body’s fight-or-flight response may be kicking in.
Jealousy is natural, so she urges people not to judge themselves for it. But learning how to recognize it, and put it into context, can go a long way. Of course, if you’re being mistreated and all signs lead to a partner who is breaking their promises to you, that’s a different story.