Stress can be contagious
Besides diseases, smiling and sneezing are also said to be contagious. Recent study shows that stress could also be contagious.
One can acquire stress by just watching others being stressed. When you are delivering a speech, you could notice that some of your audience could also exhibit symptoms of stress like making a fist under the table, having a nervous look, etc. This is mainly because they assume your stressful situation of having to deliver a speech publicly.
Recent study has revealed that second-hand stress is acquired not only from friends and family but also from complete strangers.
The study involved different groups of individuals who were made to go through stressful activity like having to defend themselves against false accusations and solving arithmetic tests in public. The cortisol levels of both the participants and the audience were measured which revealed some very interesting results.
The results showed that the cortisol levels increased in both the participant and the audience. And another interesting revelation of the study is that both genders had equal amounts of cortisol spikes, suggesting that both men and women acquire second hand stress in equal amounts as they develop sympathy for the participant.
The study revealed that while it is possible to acquire stress from complete strangers, it is likely to increase up to four times when a friend or a family member is the participant. This study has revealed the impact stress could create on family and work lives of individuals and also on their family members.
As with every other study, this is only a beginning of more interesting results. The study says that if a person is made to spend time with people around exhibiting stressful behavior, they would tend to repeat the same behavior in their routine.
Notably, Professor John Ashton, President of the Faculty of Public Health has said that a four-day work week could reduce stress for employees, in a recent statement.