In secondhand stress, your body attaches to the negative vibes of someone else under stress that is under their body’s fight or flight response.
Dr. Heidi Hanna, author of Stressaholic: 5 Steps to Transform Your Relationship With Stress, says that our body’s stress response is extremely sensitive that when you mingle with people undergoing the same, your body starts to mimic its negative effects.
Here are 4 signs you’re experiencing secondhand stress for you to identify who triggers your stress responses and how to manage it.
1. You start becoming more pessimistic
Being surrounded by stressful people could very quickly dampen your mood. Your brain is naturally wired for survival, hence it pays more attention to negativity versus positivity, making you extra sensitive to pessimistic thoughts. Dr. Hanna expounds that even if you’re thinking positively and you’re talking to a highly negative person, it’s very likely that their negative vibes will pull you right down.
2. You have a constant companion who is always anxious
One of the best ways to counter secondhand stress is to identify the people around you who trigger your stress responses. Take a quiet minute to think about who puts you on edge and intentionally but politely limit the time you spend around that person. Set clear boundaries on the amount of time you spend together to avoid draining your energy trying to balance out the other person’s stressful behaviors.
3. You feel stressed, but you’re not sure why
One hallmark sign of secondhand stress is that you feel stressed or anxious, but you don’t know why exactly. It could be someone else in your circle passing around his/her own stress responses. You might be picking up on your friend’s or family’s false alarms.
4. You’re rushing through tasks
Now this could be because you haven’t properly taken stock of your deadlines, but take time to examine if you’re just reacting to unnecessary urgency from a workmate. You feel as if every minute of the day is urgent when it’s not. If you find yourself rushing through tasks, sacrificing quality for the sake of speed, pause and ask yourself if you really need to be hustling this quickly.
Read the full article by The Healthy here to find more signs of secondhand stress for you to look out for and take the necessary measures to avoid them.