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How to stop taking on the emotions of others and remain sane

Updated: Jan 20


How not to take on the emotions of others

We are in testing times, the world changed overnight, or so it seems. Without warning, no chance to prepare, process and get a plan B. Suddenly people are bound together like never before or thrust apart without any physical contact. Our equilibrium is off-balance, all that we knew to be normal suddenly isn't there to comfort us, bring us joy or allow us to escape when we need it the most. At times like this, it is all too easy to take on the emotions of others, suck them up like a hoover or become an emotional sponge. In return, we create our negative emotions, before you know it the mood has plummeted with no way back and resentment and contempt kick in.

How many times have you been there before? How many times have you been there in the past week or so? You are not alone. You are normal. This time will pass ................................

So, how do you stay sane in the meantime?


  1. Stop and acknowledge the situation. Acknowledge the other person is human, has feelings and has a right to express those (as long as this is safely and respectfully). Recognise something happened and the other person isn't happy to about it. It isn't personal.

  2. Don't immediately jump to fix-it mode. It is perfectly understandable and normal to want to fix things, especially with those closest to us. Try to resist, believe it or not, you may just put your size nines in it. We all have different experiences, values, needs and expressions. Allow others the space and freedom to express how they are feeling.

  3. Instead, take a moment, check what's going on for you. Ask yourself, why did this bother me so much? Am I comparing this to another situation I've experienced before? Is this really the same? Am I trying to control the situation, even in a small way? Why is that? Are my expectations causing resentment and anger? Am I stressed out and using the pursuit of perfectionism to reduce my own stress? Creating awareness within yourself will stop you from taking on the emotions of others by concentrating more deeply on what's going on for us. It allows a for a pause before a reaction. We can't control the behaviour of others but we can control how we react to their behaviour.

  4. Finally, remember compassion. This person must be important to you otherwise you wouldn't give two hoots. No one wants to feel angry, scared or sad. What must be going on for the other person right now? Put aside your own feelings and get curious and understand what's really going on for them. Compassion might be the only tool in your box right now.

If you are struggling right now, I hear you! What you are experiencing is normal and life is tough. For help with your everyday life challenges, speak to inflori about how coaching can support you unravel your life to make space for more joy and happiness get in touch today!

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