News

Psyche: Stress is extremely contagious to our fellow human beings


Why you shouldn't take stress home with you

For many people, stress is part of everyday life. Appointments, anger, pressure to perform, overtime, constant availability and private conflicts are just a few common triggers that many are all too familiar with. When someone is stressed at work, it can also affect the relationship and health of the partner, as Australian scientists recently found in a study. A better relationship between work and leisure (work-life balance) could reduce this risk of infection.

The research team led by Professor Paula Brough from Griffith University in Australia was able to show with its study results that work-related stress can be transmitted to your life partner at home. Brough has been doing research for over 20 years to improve mental health in workers. In the study, about half of the participants reported significant effects of stress on their partnership. These results are based on a large study of workplace bullying and were recently published in the Australian Journal of Psychology.

Stress at work strains the relationship

"With our study, we were able to find out that the transmission of stress actually takes place and the relationship suffers," Professor Brough reports in a press release on the study results. It is irrelevant whether the couple already have children or not. Apparently there is a phenomenon of “stress transmission”, in which partners of stressed people also feel more stress, even though they are not directly exposed to it.

Stress triggers are often at work

“Stress can be triggered by the work environment, the manager or the employee,” says Brough. It happens again and again that the stress of a colleague also has a negative impact on his surroundings. According to Brough, there are also a lot of stress factors that come from outside the work environment, but the factor “work” seemed to have the greatest impact on the health of life partners. "This results in a negative impact on health and a weakening of general well-being," explains Brough.

Importance of work-life balance

The researchers propose clear rules for the temporal relationship between working hours and free time, which is commonly referred to as work-life balance. This is to ensure that work does not make you mentally ill. "Good employers recognize the importance of supporting their employees in the transition between different stages of life," explains the expert. This could be the case, for example, when a child is born or when a sick relative is cared for.

Health effects of stress

Persistent negative stress is associated with a variety of health risks. Constant stress overload can lead to stomach problems, bowel problems, back pain, high blood pressure and heart disease, for example. Another study recently showed how stress harms our bodies. And stress leads to inflammation even without germs, according to another work.

Targeted reduction of stress

There are many ways to counteract everyday stress. Autogenous training and progressive muscle relaxation are well-proven methods for reducing stress. Far Eastern relaxation methods in the form of yoga, qigong, tai chi or meditation also show success in reducing stress. An “anti-stress cure” with Schüßler salts is often used in naturopathy, in which salt number five (potassium phosphoricum) is used in particular. (vb)

Author and source information


Video: Are Night Terrors Contagious? And Other Questions with Dr. Carroll (August 2020).