Saturday, January 22, 2022

Managing the “negative emotional contagion” of others is like managing hayfever

In hayfever, we advise patients to …

1. Avoid the dust and pollens when practical.

2. Help to reduce to dust and pollens in our environments. 

3. Desensitization to dust and pollens.

4. Reduce our reactions to the dust and pollens through preventers. 

5. Nasal rinse, washouts, and sweep up the histamine reactions with antihistamines.

To help ourselves and our patients deal with the “negative emotional contagion” of others, the principles are not too dissimilar.

1. Avoid the “negative or toxic emotions” around us. Try to set clearer and better boundaries around these. 

2. Help those important in our lives to have better emotional literacy, and to maintain better emotional hygiene for each other. I acknowledge that this is not always easy. 

3. Learn to “hold space” for the “negative or unhelpful emotions” of others around us, rather than react and escalate. 

4. “Hold space” for our own internal feelings and being more mindful.  Cultivate and foster self compassion.  Look after our own biopsychosocial health. In order to look after many others, remember to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first before others.

5. Cultivate the use of more compelling values or emotions to “dilute or displace” the more negative emotions. Use values or emotions like care, compassion, hope, gratitude, curiosity, and openness to take action despite these challenges.

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