“Research by Tania Singer at the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and Clemens Kirschbaum from the Dresden University of Technology found that being exposed to someone in a stressful situation can trigger stress responses in your own body.”
You are no doubt aware of how easily you can sense someone’s mood – whether they are happy, sad, angry or frustrated. Often we just walk into a room and can just feel there’s just been an argument. But I find this article fascinating as it shares research that shows that we are all vulnerable to “second-hand” stress, and especially children.
I know that I can have the most wonderful day ever and if my husband comes home stressed out it affects my mood immediately – before he even says a word. And the research bears this out. However what fascinated me most was the research with the children. When they separated them from their moms and had the moms do something stressful, like speak to the group, the children’s heart rate rose even though they didn’t know that their moms were stressed!
When we were first married and living in Tennessee I marveled at how my husband seemed to be able to sense when something was wrong with his mom 1,000 miles away. More than once he knew she was not feeling well before anyone called to let us know.
The important take-away for me here is becoming more aware of what triggers stress in you, as the article suggests. All too often we are just in reacting mode and not paying attention to what is happening in the moment so we react rather than respond.
How often have you been affected by second-hand stress?
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