I’m Stressed, You’re Stressed, We’re Fine

Want to deal with stress? Find someone else stressed. Together, you can both be not stressed. Or calm, the dictionary tells us.

A study published in Social Psychological & Personality Science found that commiserating with a similarly stressed person (that is, someone facing the same stressor) can reduce the stress of both parties. For the study, researchers had fifty-two students participate in a study ostensibly on public speaking. Each participant was to give a videotaped speech, and pairs of participants were encouraged to speak with each other prior to doing so. Each participant also had their level of cortisol, a stress-related hormone, measured before, during, and after their speech. Researchers found that students who elected to speak to each other experienced lower levels of cortisol during and after speaking.

Of course, this is only really relevant if you need the other stressed party in your life to do well. If you’re competitors, consider pissing them off. Chances are, you’re pretty good at that.

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