Your anxiety is stressing me out!

Fear is contagious. We have a tendency to act out our fear. That is, when we become anxious or afraid, we tend to project (or spew) it onto everyone and everything around us. It is natural when you think about it. When we are anxious, we get antsy and frenetic. We naturally want to dissipate this energy. So we start to bounce our leg, scurry around the house, or create drama. Acting it out may provide temporary relief, but what effect does it have on the people around us?

It tends to increase their tension, stress, and anxiety.

An alternative is to note that you are anxious/afraid and identify it. First, you have to notice that you are anxious/afraid. It may help to recognize its symptoms. Then take a minute to ask yourself, "What am I afraid of?" Or, "What am I afraid is going to happen?" Once you understand it, you can own your fear. In other words, you say, "Oh, that's what that is." This tends to ground the tension and anxiety that it carries. Or as my teacher used to say, take its teeth out.

You can then either release it (which has a different dynamic and effect than acting it out), or at least put it somewhere. Either way, there is no longer any need to pass it around the room. It seems to be the not knowing what it is that leads to us panicking and dancing it out.

So call it out it and put it to bed. There are better things to dance with. And better things to share with your friends.

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