Second-hand stress: are you infecting your family?

I know you’re busy and you’re just trying to get through your to do list as you go bursting through your day, but what is your busyness doing to your family?

Stress is an infectious disease, and while you may wear your busyness as a badge of honour, you’re spreading stress all around you without noticing. Or maybe you notice after it’s too late: after the blow up.

Chances are you’ve noticed the second-hand stress phenomenon in other people – friends or colleagues who carry with them a ‘mood’ that you can sense immediately and that puts you on edge. If you have teenagers, nuff said.

When someone at home is stressed, you can feel the mood of the entire household shift.

It doesn’t have to be a bad mood that spreads stress – when someone rushes into your space, harried and frenzied, the energy they are vibrating can be instantly felt. If someone is feeling down, your energy will dip to meet theirs too.

So, what are you passing on to your kids and family? If you’re super busy, stressed, rushed, tired, and frustrated, you will be creating second-hand stress – the feeling of tension, of walking on egg shells because someone else is in a manic, rushed or unhappy state.

The people you pass it on to are the people you love the most – and they’re also the people less able to deal with it.

Second-hand stress spreads through a household like gastro. And it’s just as unpleasant.

I sometimes catch myself yelling at the kids for trivial reasons. When I stop and think about what the problem really is, it will be stress from some other cause – feelings of running late, having too much to do, fatigue.

When I am calm, in a state of balance and rested, I have abundant patience for the children and easily share joy with them, not stress.

You are the CEO and heartbeat of your family life, so if you’re in manic motherhood mode all the time, what vibe are you spreading? How different would your home life be if your needs were met, you were centred and calm, happy and nourished – what would you be spreading through your family then?

Does any of that sound familiar? Let me know and share your comments below.


Comments 2

  1. Hi Rachel,
    This is a great article and I love the work you are doing with Mums to manage themselves and the ripple they are creating in their families. I wonder if you know of anyone who is working with fathers in this area?
    With thanks,

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