There are quite a few studies showing that stress is contagious, but one from 2016 was particularly striking. A longitudinal study of more than 1,300 married and cohabiting couples found that husbands had increased blood pressure when their wives reported greater stress.
Stress is Contagious
The participants in the study were all born in 1953 or earlier, meaning at the time the study was written up, the youngest participant would have been 62. If you’re not 62 or more, you may be tempted to think it doesn’t apply to you. But I think this connection probably applies not just to older husbands and wives but to any close family relationship regardless of age. In addition to husbands and wives, I think it’s probably present in parents and children, maybe even brothers and sisters.
Stress creates excess cortisol, and excess cortisol can lead to everything from heart disease to diabetes, not to mention anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and other symptoms that interfere with daily living. Since stress is contagious within families, it is not a stretch to believe that failing to manage your stress endangers the health of your loved ones.
Stress Can Be Managed
So, if you’re not going to manage your stress for your own sake, do it for the people you live with and care about. Here are some tips for managing your stress, via WebMD:
- Stay positive.
- Don’t try to control what you cannot control.
- Be assertive and state your feelings rather than being angry, defensive, or passive.
- Manage your time.
- Set your limits and say no to stressful demands and requests.
- Pursue hobbies or interests.
- Avoid alcohol, drugs, and compulsive behaviors, all of which tend to create as much stress as they seem to relieve.
- Spend time with loved ones and maintain a network of friends.
- Seek help from health professionals.
If those measures don’t work fast enough for you, try some stress-reduction technologies here at Peak Recovery & Health Center:
Stress Management Technologies
Infrared Sauna. Few things can relax you as rapidly as a sauna. In a few minutes, your core temperature begins to rise, and your body tamps down your adrenalin level in order to reduce your mobility. Your cares and concerns slip away.
Float Therapy. The float tank literally removes all physical stresses, even gravity. Floating in the darkness, you begin to lose your sense of self. You cannot hold on to your worries when you’re floating. I have written before about clinical studies showing that a floating session reduces both blood pressure and cortisol levels, and the reductions persist after the session is over.
Massage. I probably don’t need to tell you how well regular massage manages stress. I imagine you are probably thinking right now about how relaxed you felt after your most recent massage. Nevertheless, a 2005 review of research on massage therapy found that it reduces cortisol level by about one third, that it increases dopamine level by the same percentage, and that it increases production of serotonin by 28%.
My advice is to take steps to manage your stress for the sake of your family’s health as well as your own. If everyday measures don’t work fast enough for you, see us here at Peak Recovery & Health Center. We offer a portfolio of highly effective stress management technologies.
Photo: “Woman in Red T-Shirt Looking at Her Laptop” by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.