I had a smart and successful client use the fabulous phrase "life envy" with me last week during our Happiness Hacking coaching session.

We were discussing the downer she'd gotten on at the weekend after seeing perfect families out walking with their perfect children and their perfect dogs, which felt deeply painful because she is currently single. All totally understandable. It's like rubbing salt into the wound when you see people effortlessly living that which seems so elusive to you. The result - an uncomfortable wave of life envy.

It's often the way, isn't it? If we are single all we see are perfect couples walking along hand in hand. Cafés positively overrun with them. If we are trying to conceive and struggling then the world seems to be full of women sporting baby bumps at every turn, and every other Facebook photo is of someone else's child doing something cute. If our job is less than stellar or your business is struggling then all of a sudden the world seems filled with people making great money doing what they love when we can't even work out what our passion is let alone make a living doing it. Any of that sound familiar?!

My client was suffering from a severe case of life envy and I think that's something most of us can relate to. Here's what you need to know about life envy and how to make it work for you.

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1. Firstly, and this is important: Life envy can be positive. It can be an awesome force for good in that it can help you identify what you want in your life. That clarity is great. It can bring into really sharp relief the object of your hearts desire.

Once the goal is set however, its purpose is done. You don't need the uncomfortable sensation of life envy to linger; you just need to get busy making that goal a happening thing rather than dwell on what you don't have. Used wisely life envy can be a positive force that propels you forwards.

2. While you are being envious of that person's life, or lets be very clear, what you imagine that person's life to be (which might be a whole different kettle of terakihi), there are many people being envious of YOU!

Maybe you have a beautiful home. Or a fantastic ass. Or hell, maybe you got a straight eight hours sleep last night. If you can focus on the good stuff you already have going in your own life then the life envy will lessen. Look at your own life and figure out what might inspire some life envy in others and give thanks for that shizzle right now.

Gratitude is the perfect antidote to life envy, it neutralises it and amps up your energy to move in favour of your hearts desire.