Useful tips to help you manage the stress caused by other people around you
Everyone has a certain amount of stress in his or her life. This can result from family, job, finances and general life responsibilities. Often though, stress can be passed on from person to person like an infectious disease or second hand smoke.
Dealing with someone else’s stress is actually very stressful. Initially you may try to be understanding and offer support, but eventually if you see no improvement, you may end up feeling the strain yourself.
With your own stressors—which are things directly affecting you—you are in control. You can confront your problems, attempt a resolution or count to 10. However, with second hand stress—that means suffering the effect of other’s actions—you may feel powerless to deal with it directly. Often you may feel you can’t do anything more than stand there and bear it.
Not all forms of stress can be avoided, but you may be able to protect yourself against someone else’s stress by trying the four tried and tested tips below.
- Take a ‘micro break’ to avoid stress if you are near someone in a meltdown. Take a walk outside if possible or grab a cup of coffee. Physical distance from the stressful person will help clear your head and put things into perspective.
- Try and communicate with the stressful person. Once the person has calmed down, you can kindly let them know that when they behave in this way it affects you. As soon as you start to notice the early signs of stress, you can point them out to the person to help resolve the situation before it escalates. Not many people take the time to be kind to stressed or difficult people, and you may be surprised at how your efforts lead to them becoming your biggest supporter!
- Try not to get too emotionally invested in other’s lives. If you find yourself always being the shoulder to cry on, it might be time to back off a bit and take some time to yourself. By eliminating the emotional stress of others, you’ll find you finally have time to take that yoga class, to meditate, to take on a hobby or just to get that extra hour of sleep every night. At the end of the day, you’ll be a better friend and more able to help them if you look after yourself like this.
- Acknowledge and accept what you can’t change. You won’t always be able to put a positive spin on a situation or personal issue. Prepare yourself mentally to accept that things are the way that they are and don’t allow the stressed person’s outlook to colour yours. Never let others’ negative emotions infect you!