TribLIVE

| Lifestyles


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

How to immunize yourself from contagious stress

By San Jose Mercury News
Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Stress has been identified as one of the major scourges of our modern age. Seventy-eight percent of American adults say their stress levels increased or stayed the same over the past five years, according to a 2013 American Psychological Association report. An,d more than 30 percent say stress has had a significant impact on their physical and mental health. Consequences of chronic, untreated stress range from decreased immune-system function to insomnia to increased risk of heart disease.

To get to the bottom of why we're all so stressed out, some researchers have focused on how anxiety can be as contagious as any airborne pathogen. Researchers also liken it to secondhand smoke as they consider how regular exposure to challenging people hurts us physically and emotionally.

Consider how someone else's negativity can put you on edge. There's the co-worker who constantly complains. The friend who calls to vent about her marriage. The sighing, toe-tapping, visibly impatient customer in line with you at the grocery store.

We can't entirely eliminate secondhand stress, but we can become more discerning about how much we allow certain people and situations into our lives. Mindful meditation, prayer and positive self-talk can reduce some of the “drama” that surrounds you and can lessen the chance of becoming a “stress carrier” yourself. Other tips:

• Stay healthy through exercise, good nutrition and sleep; resist overeating or abusing alcohol and other substances.

• If you're worried about anything, keep the lines of communication open with people you trust; don't isolate yourself.

• While you shouldn't over-share with your kids, don't shield them from the fact you're going through difficult times.

• Focus on situations you can change with other people; reduce or end your involvement in situations you can't.

• Be helpful to others.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Time is of essense for Pitt in finding football coach, athletic director
  2. Steelers must be creative in providing snaps for linebackers
  3. Fleury’s career-best 6th shutout lifts Penguins over Avalanche in overtime
  4. High school basketball notebook: Plum grad Cressler returns as volunteer assistant for Knoch
  5. Assistant at Duke eyes Pitt football job
  6. Meningitis suspects to be freed from jail while awaiting trial in 64 deaths
  7. Greensburg high school roundup: No. 3 Norwin girls take down No. 1 North Allegheny
  8. Beacons track shoppers’ smartphones amid retailers’ aisles
  9. 8 Western Pennsylvania hospitals penalized over infections
  10. LT High school roundup: Kittanning offense comes to life in win over Knoch
  11. Pitt coordinator Rudolph is considered hot coaching commodity
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.