Tuesday, November 28

How stress can be contagious and what to do to avoid it (and help your loved ones)

  • Rosie Shrout *
  • The Conversation

Stress in relationships can reach new highs during the holidays.

Image source, Getty Images


Stress in relationships can peak during the holidays.

With the rush of shopping, spending money, and trips to see family, stress can feel inevitable on vacation.

You may already know that stress can affect your own health, but you may not realize that your stress, and how you handle it, is rubbing off on you. Your stress can spread especially, your loved ones.

As a psychosanitary psychologist, I have developed a model for how couples and their stress mutually influence biological and psychological health. Through that and other research, I have learned that the quality of intimate relationships is crucial to people’s health.

An example: stress in relationships can disrupt the immune, endocrine and cardiovascular systems. A study of newlyweds found that stress hormone levels were higher when couples were hostile during conflictThat is, when they were critical, sarcastic, they spoke with an unpleasant tone and used aggravating facial expressions such as rolling their eyes.


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