The “Grass is Greener Syndrome”: What Is It + Tips to End This Thinking
Human nature is fickle and complicated at the same time; once you’re at one stage of life, things seem to get boring, and you find yourself longing for something more. In school, you long for college; in college, you long to experience real life; once you get a job, you long for that promotion…and the story goes on. Ever wonder why it happens?
If you’ve ever found yourself staring at others’ lives, wishing for something like that for your own, then you’re at the right place. Maybe you wish you had a better job than your current one, a romantic relationship like your friends, or even a life like that Instagram influencer you follow.
Yes? You might be experiencing the “Grass is greener” syndrome. No, I’m not making this up; it’s a real psychological phenomenon wherein you constantly compare your current life experiences with others and believe that there is something bigger and better for you out there.
Explore what is the “grass is greener” syndrome, its signs, its impacts, and how you can end this way of thinking with me in this article!
The “Grass is Greener” Syndrome: What is It?
While not a real mental health diagnosis, the grass is greener syndrome is a psychological condition that can be compared to the whispers in your head.
The whispers in your head that make you believe that other’s situations and life experiences are far better and bigger than yours. This feeling can make you believe that there is something out there that you’re missing out on. Even if your current life is going well, you keep thinking about how the grass is greener on the other side.
1. A very simple example of this way of thinking can be;
You’re scrolling down your social media, and you see your coworker’s beach vacation pictures. Now, your current weekend relaxation plans seem too dull in comparison to theirs.
2. Another example can be;
You celebrate your friend’s achievements and, in comparison, your own successes feel uninspired.
Do You Have The “Grass is Greener” Syndrome?
It can be difficult to accept your life as it is and stop comparing your experiences with others. But, you can do it. To deal with the “grass is greener” syndrome, you need to understand how to spot the signs of this thinking.
Here are some common signs that you have the “grass is greener” syndrome;
- You constantly compare your life and experiences with others
- You feel unsatisfied with your life despite your achievements
- You always seek the next big thing
- You overlook your strengths and successes
- You believe your happiness comes from external factors
- You are always critical and complain about how lacking your life is
- You wish to be a perfectionist all the time
- You either sabotage yourself or run away at the next opportunity
- You can’t commit to things in the long-term
- You think about the future all the time and miss out on the present
- You feel trapped in your current life, despite it going well
- You can’t sit with boredom
- You think in “What ifs” and “If only’s”
- You think and act impulsively without considering the consequences of your actions
- You cannot express gratitude for what you have
How Does This Affect Your Life?
There’s nothing wrong with thinking about a better future. It’s goal-setting at its finest, but when we talk about the “grass is greener” syndrome, it’s not about future goal-setting.
Setting goals for the future aids your well-being, but this syndrome takes a toll on your mental health. The “grass is greener” syndrome can loom like a shadow on almost all aspects of your life.
Being preoccupied with thinking about a better and bigger future can lead to an increase in stress, anxiety, and a constant state of dissatisfaction in life. Your relationships, career, and well-being can take a hit as you keep chasing the idea of perfection that’s always out of your reach.
When you keep thinking that there is something bigger on the other side, you’re plagued with overthinking. This overthinking can start a cycle where you keep thinking about what’s wrong with the current situation and wish to find something better; restarting the cycle of overthinking once more.
This syndrome can trigger commitment issues, mood swings, low self-esteem, depression, relationship problems, sleep issues, and chronic stress. Let’s take a look at how you can end the “grass is greener” thinking cycle.
Tips to End “Grass is Greener” Thinking
1. Be Grateful
The first thing you can do to stop this thinking cycle is to express gratitude for what you currently have. Take some time to reflect on all the positive things in your life. What can you be grateful for? Try to shift your perspective from what could be to what there is.
2. Be Present
Learn to be present in the current moment. You can achieve this by practicing mindfulness and meditation exercises. Staying in the present moment can help you appreciate what you have now, rather than getting lost in what others have or what you could have.
3. Be Realistic
You don’t have to let your future define your goals. Do it the other way around. Let your goals decide what you get to have. Set realistic goals that align with your values, rather than choosing goals that someone else has set. Your success can’t be defined by others’ ideas of success.
4. Stop Comparing
Another way to end the “grass is greener” thinking is to stop comparing your current life and goals with others. What others choose to show you are just the highlights of their struggles and not the true version. There are always struggles and ignoring them will not do you any good.
5. Celebrate Small Wins
You might not realize this, but your small victories count the most. Acknowledge them and celebrate them, even if they are very small. It’s not about the end goal, but the process you did to get there. Celebrate all that you’ve overcome to get where you are now.
6. Be Aware
You need to be honest with yourself and be aware of your thought patterns. What makes you think that the grass is greener on the other side? What about the other situation makes you think that it’s all good there? Be aware of your intentions and thoughts. If you find yourself wandering far into the future, redirect your attention to your current strengths and skills.
7. Seek Support
If the “grass is greener” thinking is affecting your relationships, career life, and well-being, then consider reaching out to a professional counselor. A professional can offer the right guidance and support to change your way of thinking and offer you the right tools to help you stay in the present and appreciate your life, now.
The grass is greener syndrome might not be a mental health diagnosis, but it is a psychological condition. It is a condition wherein you constantly compare your current life with the belief that there is something bigger and better waiting for you on the other side. It’s a common way of thinking, but it doesn’t have to stay that way and control your life.
You can end this way of thinking by following the aforementioned ways. Remember, grass might be greener on the other side, but with a little care and trimming, you can transform your garden to be as vibrant as you imagine it might be on the other end.
Did you find the article helpful? What do you think of the “grass is greener” syndrome? Do you agree with the ways to end this kind of thinking? Let me know in the comments box below.