What Is Second-Hand Anxiety & How To Protect Yourself From It

Check What is Second-Hand Anxiety? and is it real? Complete Guide and how to cope with it.

Last Update on March 19, 2021 : Published on March 20, 2021
What Is Second-Hand Anxiety & How To Protect Yourself From It

List of Contents

  • How Second-Hand Anxiety Affect Us?
  • Signs Of Second-Hand Anxiety
  • How To Fight Second-Hand Anxiety?

You must have heard that laughter and happiness can be contagious but were you aware that anxiety and stress can be contagious as well? When you’re around someone who has negative energy or a negative aura, they can pass that energy onto you.

If your friend comes over to your place after a terrible day they had and complain about a colleague or a manager, they can pass on that negative energy and stress they carry around to you. Little things like this can cause you to feel anxious even if you had a smooth day. There is a chance that you may pick up your friend’s emotions without realizing it and worry over it.

When you don’t exactly know what’s stressing you out or making you anxious, it can be referred to as second-hand anxiety or second hand stress. This kind of anxiety is not a psychological disorder but can be a neurological phenomenon.

Understanding how second-hand anxiety can affect us is important and it can also help us keep our minds calm when others’ negative energies and emotions threaten to overwhelm us.

Also Read: Why are Stress and Anxiety Becoming So Common Today | Alarming Facts

How Second-Hand Anxiety Affect Us?

How Second-Hand Anxiety Affect Us

Have you ever yawned just by watching someone else yawn? That is how anxiety and stress work too. Several studies have shown that people tend to mimic the emotions of others near us.

Humans are sensitive beings and we absorb everything around us – negative or positive. When we absorb something negative or stressful, our bodies produce cortisol, the stress hormone\ that activates our stress response.

Also Read: Signs and Traits That Show You’re An Empath

Second-hand anxiety can be bad for our overall health; it can affect our nervous system, decrease our cognitive abilities, and take away our motivation.

Second-hand anxiety can be triggered at work and at home too. This can cause several problems such as:

  • When we catch the anxiety or stress of others, we often forget about our problems and tasks. This behavior can make us disorganized as well.
  • Fatigue and tiredness. When we try to protect ourselves from the stress and anxiety of others, we are often left feeling drained and tired from the effort.
  • Anxiety and stress create tension inside us and when we find little to no outlet to release the tension, we may lash out at others because of it.

Signs Of Second-Hand Anxiety

Signs Of Second-Hand Anxiety

If you’re experiencing second-hand anxiety signs, then you may be dealing with second-hand anxiety.

  • You feel anxious but you can’t put a finger on why.
  • You’ve become a pessimist and are thinking negatively.
  • You’re rushing through your tasks as though in an emergency.
  • You feel tired, fatigued, or drained of your energy.
  • You’re experiencing brain fogginess.
  • You’re unable to think clearly and make smart decisions.

Also Read: 5 Easy Ways To Deal With Negative People

How To Fight Second-Hand Anxiety?

Here are few ways you can protect yourself from second-hand anxiety:

1. Be Empathetic

Be Empathetic

When someone approaches you with a stressful situation, try to separate their emotions from yours. Remind yourself that their emotions are not yours; whatever is stressing them out is not something that should stress you out as well.

Keep and maintain some emotional and mental distance from their source of anxiety, but don’t turn your back on it. Practice active listening, acknowledge their concerns but don’t let their thoughts and feelings invade yours.

Also Read: Types Of Empathy You Need To Know

2. Set Healthy Boundaries

You want to help the people you care about but sometimes caring for them when they are feeling anxious can affect you and can cause conflicts. Sometimes the best you can do is step away from the situation and let it play out.

Stepping away from a stressful situation doesn’t mean you’re being distant or cold; it just means that you are distancing yourself from others’ anxiety. Setting boundaries is an act of self-care and isn’t selfish at all.

3. Keep Your Anxiety At Bay

Keep Your Anxiety At Bay

The best way to protect yourself from second-hand anxiety is to slow down, take a breath, and step away from a stressful situation yourself. When you feel stressed or anxious but are unable to figure out the why, it is suggested that you take a second, meditate, or go for a run.

The release of endorphins can help you find happiness and calm amid anxiety. Learn to steer yourself away from the negative and focus on the positive.

4. Stay & Spread Positivity

As I said before, happiness and joy, like stress and anxiety, can be contagious, so why not focus your energy on spreading positivity? When you stay and spread positivity either by thinking positive or spreading positive vibes, you’re essentially protecting yourself from second-hand anxiety.

Final Thoughts

By increasing your awareness of self, setting healthy boundaries, and taking care of your emotions, you can keep second-hand anxiety away. The more you keep yourself vulnerable and open to negativity, the more prone you are to catching anxiety from others.

Anxiety, second-hand or not, can affect your daily functioning and decrease the quality of your life. If you’re experiencing stress and anxiety of any kind, you can reach out to a therapist or a counselor through one of these online therapy platforms or you can write to us at info@calmsage.com for more information.

“Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.” – Jodi Picoult

Stay happy, stay safe!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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