Because you are born to live as a social being, your friends, co-workers, family and partners play a vital role in your well-being and happiness. When stressful people are a part of that mix, their behaviours can leave you feeling frustrated, depressed, angry, agitated, nervous, worried or just plain exhausted. In addition to the emotional and mental toll they can take, these kinds of relationships also impact physical health. Being around people who up-end your peace may contribute to such conditions as high blood pressure, coronary disease and immune system impairment.
Recognising Stressful People…
Take a moment to identify anyone in your life who causes you to feel stirred up and anxious when you are around them:
- friends or family members who seem to find the ‘wrong’ in a situation more often than they acknowledge what’s ‘right’.
- someone who gossips, complains, rants or blames others for their problems.
- co-workers or bosses who cause a great deal of drama in the office by bullying or idly threatening to act out in some way.
- the person who has a habit of dumping their negativity onto you and walking away in a cheerful mood leaving you to struggle with their fall-out.
- someone who keeps you off-balance and on-edge as they flip-flop between support and hostility toward you.
Strategies to Help You Cope….
When you have to deal with that stressful someone in your life, there is little you can do to change them but there are some actions you can take to manage your responses. Here are some suggestions:
- Step away.
- If you can’t physically get away, move away mentally and emotionally…
zone out…imagine yourself in your personal ‘peace place’.
- Change the Conversation.
- Shift the direction of stressful conversations by changing the subject.
- Be assertive and confront with respect, clarity and honesty, “When you do [their behaviour], it causes me stress. How can we have a conversation without the agitation?”
- In the workplace, keep the conversation polite, neutral and minimal. Stay focused on the purpose of the communication to avoid any distracting dramas.
- Set Boundaries.
- Stay off their emotional roller coaster of anger, sadness or anxiety. You can listen, be curious and communicate but don’t become entangled in their story…it is not yours!
- Maintain a safe, emotional distance. Don’t confide in, depend on or seek support from someone who is not trustworthy.
- Limit the time spent with stressful people or, if their behaviours are abusive, cut ties altogether.
- Let Go.
- Suspend blame or judgement.
- Accept them as they are and let go of any need to change or fix them.
- Suggest professional support to the stress-causing person.
- Breathwork is a powerful and effective approach that can assist them to release the underlying issues that cause them to act out.
Take Care of Yourself
- Build your resilience by having a plan of action for those predictably stressful people – will you walk away? Be assertive? Change the conversation?
- Seek support and new relationships from positive, trustworthy and reliable people.
- Use humour to deflect the stress attack from difficult people.
- Meditate to relax and restore your inner peace quotient.
- Breathe – Try this breathing technique to calm the tension and anxiety in your body:
Breathe in through your nose to a count of 4 and audibly exhale through your mouth to a count of 7. As you breathe in, hold the intention to let go of the stressful interaction. As you exhale, imagine releasing your reactions to the stress.
- Arrange a Breathwork session with John to help you let go of what hooks you into others’ negative stress.
A certain amount of stress in life is unavoidable (even beneficial in the right places!). If anxiety-creating, negative people are an unwelcome part of your life, know that you can make the intelligent choice to not participate.
“Control your vibrations and you are the master of your own harmony.” ~Suzy Kassem