Did you know that stress is contagious? Being around a stressed person has the power to make you stressed. Stress can be passed on to other people in a vicious trickle-down sequence. Dr Solomon Mwangi, sheds light on this stressing issue
Often times you will come across a person who confesses how stressed they are. It could be work-related stress, relationships that aren’t working or the lack of money.
However, it should be handled before it escalates because it could be fatal. Stress is the major factor in the leading killer diseases; heart disease, cancer, stroke and accidents.
Catching stress through observation or contact is as easy as catching a common cold or yawn, a recent scientific study from the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences reveals.
Dr Solomon Mwangi puts this in context: “Stress is contagious in most social settings, particularly in groups having intricate or intimate relationships like a work or family setting. Being around a stressed person has the power to make someone stressed in physically quantifiable ways.
The impact of stress is highest when observing a loved one or acquaintance under stress. Many women are addicted to soap operas, without realising that they are affected by seeing their favourite star in distress. The stress levels are lower when you encounter a total stranger in distress, whose effect is less significant.”
Dr Mwangi shares a story of a father who went home frustrated by his boss and he started squabbling his wife over basic housekeeping issues. The wife got frustrated and started quarreling the son over his schoolwork and performance.
Lacking an outlet for his frustration, the young boy emptied his anger by kicking the cat out of the house. He cites this as a classic example of how unrelated stress has an effect of inducing stress in other people who individualise it and pass it on to someone else in a vicious trickle-down sequence. Some individuals are strong open stress hotspots transmitting stress to those around them.
The eggshell dropper has everyone around them walking on eggshells due to their volatile nature. Being on high alert is the only safe way to be around these people who have sudden and unpredictable mood and mind changes due to negative emotions.
Super delegators are the busiest people on earth and get away with unloading their extra or unwanted responsibilities and stress onto others.
Avoid these people and in the event you live or work with them, do your best to renegotiate your relationship and communicate clearly. Before avoiding contracting stress it is vital to ascertain you are free of any internal stress. “Differentiate urgent things from important ones.
Urgent things are not always important and by giving priority to important things, you will avoid urgent things and urgency is a major cause of stress. This is not always humanly possible and overextending yourself may see you fall short, when you fall short in which case an earnest apology to the affected party is more effective than fretting.”
Dr Mwangi counsels that, “The best way to avoid getting stressed by other people is to always ensure you have played your role or done your best in every situation. It’s not always possible to avoid stressful situations and learning how to manage and handle stress is crucial building our capacity for appropriate defence mechanisms.
This can be done by engaging yourself in activities like jogging, swimming, taking a holiday, travel and efficient time management.” Stressed people suffer vast psychological sicknesses, ineffectiveness, depression and sub standard performance.
“Stress is something we have to accept is here with us from the life we live and the best thing is to learn how to manage/cope with stressful situations. If stress is not well managed, it may lead to both physical and psychological sickness, requiring medical or professional counselling. Reducing stress not only increases productivity but lifespan and life quality.”