According to Jordan Friedman:
"'Secondhand stress' is a stress response that is triggered by someone else's behavior." Wow. I have that! I have known for YEARS that my stress is, about 95%, triggered by the behavior of another person. And I'm here to tell y'all, it sucks.
In my situation, it's not that knowing someone else is stressed causes me, out of empathy, to be stressed as well. It's more the dread of having to hear the moaning and sighing and slamming and cursing and negative comments. The noise of this person's stress is stressful to me.
Heidi Hanna, Ph.D., a fellow with the American Institute of Stress states that stress leads to:
- family members internalizing their feelings (particularly kids)
- communication shut down
- fatigue (as the day wears on we become exhausted from trying to protect ourselves from stressful situations which also leads to irritability, distracted thinking, and a negative impact on relationships)
- on the road via road rage (a dirty look or honk of a horn in our direction can cause us to feel stressed physically and/or emotionally and makes it difficult to focus while driving)
- at work via an anxious co-worker (which leads to a problem with teamwork, productivity, etc)
- Avoid situations where the second hand stress is created
- protect your energy (take a five minute break every hour; stretch and walk around; meditate; laugh)
- develop a breathing technique or something that you can think about
- Try not to let the little things get to you
- Focus on the positive
- Don't spread second hand stress yourself
Right now, I'm working on living in the now and focusing on the positive. For example, this morning, because I focused on the positive, I was able to hear fog horns (one of my favorite sounds in the world) and observe the sunrise. Had I stayed inside and not walked Tucker I wouldn't have heard those fog horns. Had I not left for work early, I would have missed the sunrise. I got two big time positives and avoided the negative altogether! It was such a blessing. I"m also working on strengthening my spiritual well-being and, as most of y'all know, my physical well-being which will, I hope, help my energy problem.
It's not all that helpful to realize that there isn't that much stress in my life that is first hand. The second hand stress is way more offensive. In my situation, it seems as though some people aren't happy unless they are taking others of us with them. This is WAY uncool. It leads to all sorts of resentment as well. It's just no good. But, taking the steps I've been taking, one at a time, I find that I am living much happier than I would be had I not taken the first step towards positivity and self-preservation.
Most of y'all might have no idea about second hand stress and I'm so glad. It's not pleasant at all. For those who do have an idea about it, how do you handle your second hand stress?