Did you know that talking with stressed people can make you stressed out?
It may be surprising to know that stress is really contagious. A new scientific evidence has proven it.
Although the researchers used animals as the subject of the study, the finding is significant. Meaning, it can be true to humans too.
In the latter study, the authors noted that someone else’s stress can be transmitted or acquired.
Professor Jaideep Bains, the leading author of the study shared his conclusion. “Recent studies indicate that stress and emotions can be ‘contagious,” Bains said. “Whether this has lasting consequences for the brain is not known.”
The implication of the research can be significant to all of us. It may suggest that listening to a stressed person may have a negative impact on your psychological well-being.
It is likely that hearing sad stories can make you stressed out. Or, you may have already made your friend stressed after you shared your negative experience.
Professor Bains is aware of this possibility. “We readily communicate our stress to others, sometimes without even knowing it,” Bains added. “There is even evidence that some symptoms of stress can persist in family and loved ones of individuals who suffer from PTSD.”
What can you do if you already stressed out? Can you zap the stress away?
There may be no single answer to these questions. But there are several strategies you can use to ease your psychological stress.
1. Stop consuming too much caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol
Avoid consuming caffeinated drinks, nicotine, and alcohol. These substances are stimulants. This means that these substances could increase your stress level.
The best thing you can do instead is drinking a lot of water, herbal teas, and fruit juices. Fruits have natural nutritional contents that help boost your physical and psychological health.
2. Stay active
Many things can make you stressed out. It could be your day job, your relationship, financial problems, etc.
If you think you reached the breaking point, stop. Just take a walk and get fresh air. If you can, go to the gym. Physical activities are helpful to relax your body and mind.
If you relax your mind, you are healing not only your mental health but also your whole body.
3. Get enough sleep
Only recently, researchers found that loss of sleep is a significant cause of depression. Not only that, sleep deprivation also deteriorates cognitive functioning.
This means that if you are stressed out or depressed, you won’t be able to function normally. You can’t think well and perform well in your daily routine.
The key to getting enough sleep is making your mind relaxed before going to bed. Forget the tasks that you should have finished on a certain day.
Detach yourself from negative thoughts. Everything has its right time. Do not add your future problem to your present problem.
And lastly, limit your screen time. In other words, do not use your cell phones and other gadgets before bed. Studies show that the light that emanates from the screen of your gadgets will hinder your sleepiness.
4. Try relaxing activities
If you can, try meditation. Several studies had proven its effectiveness in gaining mental calmness.
Meditation is a thousand-year-old practice. However, only in recent years that science began to realize its usefulness.
If you can eliminate your worries, you will be able to calm your mind.
5. Speak out your problem
Needless to say that problems stressed you out. If you think you can’t handle the problem or find it difficult to solve, it is a good idea to find some help.
You can ask your friends, your co-workers, loved ones, or even trained professionals whom you think could provide you a solution.
A tension that has no outlet will develop into a more serious mental issue. Depression, for instance, emanates from a simple stress.
Stress is not only the cause of mental disorders but also physical illness. Studies had proven that stomach ulcer is caused by psychological stress. So eliminate stress before it harms you.
6. Focus on the solution of the problem
Many people become even more stressed out because they focus on the problem without identifying possible solutions.
Once you identify the problem, the next step you need to do is finding the way out. Do not dwell on the intensity of the problem. It is given. Control your emotion.
Nothing will happen if you let yourself be carried out by the pain. Use your mind. Think and don’t let your negative feelings cloud your focus. Once you found the way out, act on it. It’s the effective way to kick out stress.
7. Use your time wisely
Stress will start to kick in when you tend to focus on many things simultaneously. I always see this among college students. They only make their projects or write their term papers when deadlines are fast approaching.
But this is a bad practice. Why? Because your brain cannot attend to many stimuli in a given time. It is not designed to do so. The more you cram, the more you make mistakes, and the more you become stressed out.
Time management is very important. Make a list of the things you need to do on the next day. And stay on your schedule.
8. Learn to disagree
One of the causes of stress is social pressure. You need to conform to the group to fit in. But doing this will sabotage your free will.
When force yourself to act like others do, you’re faking yourself. This, in turn, will create cognitive dissonance that will, of course, result in stress.
The best thing you can do instead is following your own will. Be indifferent to what others might be thinking. As long as you do not hurt anybody, you’ll be okay.
9. Take a rest
You are not a machine or a robot. Your body needs rest. Physical fatigue will also result in mental fatigue.
So if you are tired at work, make time for a rest. If you can, take a vacation. Visit beautiful sceneries. Leave all the stressful things behind. In this way, you’ll be able to rest your mind.
10. Listen to music
It is incredible to know how music could ease a worried mind. Several studies had found that a soothing music has a tremendous positive impact on human emotion.
The best music types that could easily zap stress are the instrumentals. Why? Because songs with lyrics force the brain to make an interpretation. As a result, the brain will not be able to relax.
So the next time you feel stressed out, use one of these strategies.
I hope this will help. If you want to share your thoughts, please leave a comment below.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.