Is Stress Contagious?
When people think about all the possible causes of their stress, they usually think about things like work, money, relationships, and things of that nature. These are good starting places, but they’re not always the answer.
A commonly overlooked cause of stress is the stress that other people are experiencing. Much like a disease, stress is contagious and can spread fairly easily. Humans naturally feel for one another and understand one another’s emotions, and therefore are prone to sharing a lot of emotions.
For example, if someone’s friend or family member is stressed out about their job, they can then become stressed out as well thinking about whether or not that person is going to be okay.
One of the ways that stress becomes contagious is by the changes in people’s personalities when they’re stressed out. When someone gets stressed, they may become more irritable, snapping at people for small or insignificant things.
In turn, the people on the receiving end of the irritability will become upset and stressed out themselves, and it just continues from there. For some, this can be motivation to start addressing the sources of their stress, so that their friends will stop having to stress out as well.
However, for others, this can only add onto their existing stress, having to worry that their friend is worrying about them. The only way to break this back and forth cycle is to have good communication with your friends and loved ones about why you’re stressed out and to get down to it and solve your problems at their roots.
You should never be afraid to talk to your friends and family about why you’re stressed out as long as you do it in the right manner. As long as you remain calm about it while you’re talking, you shouldn’t cause too much extra stress.
And if your friends and family fail, you can usually find a therapist to talk to instead. You should also be able to tell someone when they’re stressing you out. Sometimes it can be a wakeup call for them, which can be a major relief for you.
Other times, they may continue to stay stressed out. In this case, do what you can to help them, and if that doesn’t work, you could always distance yourself a bit from them. There’s no use in continuing to stress yourself out over someone else’s problems - especially when you’ve done all you can to help them.