Second-hand stress

Image: Francisco Moreno

I used to get a contact high (or ‘low’ in this case) from second-hand stress. You know… Being in the vicinity of someone who’s stressing their face off. It used to hit me like a disease — soon enough, I’d be stressing right along with them, for no reason other than proximity to theirs. Sometimes I’d carry it with me all day.

It’s not so bad anymore. This has been one of the greatest benefits of meditation for me. Now, I can detect second-hand stress as soon as someone lights up. I can find the wherewithal to either remove myself or to put myself in a safe space to still be in proximity to them without having to inhale their toxins. Meditating has allowed me to step away from the drama, see it objectively for what it is, and not get a buzz off their bullshit.

As you know, your day will take you through many a veritable stressing section of life. Sometimes, we choose to sit with someone going through intense times. Compassion is a powerful thing. But second-hand stress is a killer. Don’t be a victim. Don’t be another statistic. Take to the cushion, friend. Find your mighty, invincible headspace that you can carry with you throughout your day. See the chain-stressers as ones in need of a friend who has kicked the habit. You must be the clean one in the room. That’s how you can best serve them, if you choose to do so.

Whatever you do… Don’t inhale. This is not an issue of physical smoke being inhaled. This is one of a mental, emotional sort. One that the mind can partake in only if susceptible due to unawareness. A small, faint choice to not buy in to the addict’s story will be enough to keep the airwaves of your consciousness clean.

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