If secondhand stress originating in your family is something you’ve been dealing with, it could be causing damage to your health and wellbeing without you even knowing it. Whether you’re getting caught in the middle of family feuds or you are left extinguishing fires, those negative vibes can latch on and get absorbed by your body. This can eventually fester into both physical and emotional problems for you, in addition to impacting your level of happiness. How can you prevent or avoid this? Here are some ways to help manage secondhand stress in the family and take better care to safeguard your own health.
You’ve probably heard by now how important exercise is for maintaining optimal health. And, well, it’s true! There’s just no way around it — exercise is fundamental to improving your health and coping with everyday stress. Being active on a frequent basis not only lowers stress levels, but it also gives you a healthy way to release pent-up energy while setting a positive tone for the rest of your day (or the next). Start each morning off on the right foot by taking care of your body and mind first with physical exercise (you can exercise at any time, of course).
Meditate & Breathe
Another very beneficial way to help manage secondhand stress in the family is by meditating. Carve out ten minutes each morning or evening to sit, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Try to deepen your breath by inhaling as much as you can and exhaling all the way by pushing out your stomach. This helps to quiet your mind and lull it into a more peaceful state.
Alter Your Focus to Block Out Negativity
Sometimes, when a situation or conversation has occurred that’s upsetting, it can play over and over again in your mind like a broken record. When your mind starts to do this, recognize it and immediately change your focus by thinking of something positive that makes you smile. It could be your dog, your partner, or your upcoming vacation. Whatever it is, find something positive and happy to think of whenever your mind starts to wander off into a negative whirlwind.
Change How You Respond
Sometimes, how we respond to situations can drastically impact the outcome. When your partner arrives home in a bad mood or if a family member is venting, take a moment to pause before you respond. Rather than biting back, try to be compassionate and offer some positive suggestions and words of encouragement instead. This can help calm them down while removing the power behind their negativity to influence how you feel.
Make More Time for Yourself
It’s important to take care of family, but it’s equally important to remember to take time to yourself. Make a point to carve out more time do things that make you feel good, like hanging out with friends. Spending time around those whose company you enjoy more frequently can help you manage your own stress and minimize the effects of your family stress.
If you’ve been struggling to manage secondhand stress from family, make sure to try these steps to protect yourself from the negative effects that it can have on your wellbeing.