If you’re a big ol’ softie – and you take on everyone’s problems as if they were your own – you’re empathetic. But you may also be increasing your chances of illness.
That’s because being a super supportive friend, partner or parent – and seeing someone you love go through a challenging time – makes stress hormones spike in 40% of people. It’s called “empathetic stress.” And just like your own stress, it can raise your risk for heart disease, insomnia and weight gain. If that’s you – you can still care about your loved ones, but take care of yourself the same way you would if you were dealing with your own stress. And try to be supportive without getting angry or upset on their behalf to keep your stress hormones in check.