Fans and players alike want to catch the ball at a baseball game, but nobody wants to snag the flu. Unfortunately, both occur at random. Is it possible to "catch" stress by chance, too, if your timing and location are in alignment?
Let's explore stress from a distance. Will it pass you by if you ignore it, similar to that pop fly at the ballgame? Does stress operate like an infection instead, in which case ignorance leaves you more susceptible?
A Fact with Wow Factor
Observing someone else with visible signs of stress triggers your own stress response. [Source]
Stress Less Tip
Humans come hard-wired as 24/7 danger detectors. Throw in ancient traditions of working together for survival, and you end up with an uncanny ability to read others' body language to spot potential threats. A modern "threat" might include someone else's negative mood. This perception takes place on a subconscious level. As a result, you squirm when you watch a coworker struggle to give a presentation. You tense up when you witness a parent harshly reprimanding a child in public.
You also experience stress alongside characters in movies, YouTube videos, television shows, video games, and news stories. It makes no difference whether the characters are real or fictional as long as you relate to their human qualities. Now you know why the awkward social scenarios The Office make you feel uncomfortable. Proximity stress also explains the upset derived from disturbing news stories on TV.
How far does stress spread its ill will? If you ever suspected that your furry or feathered friend sensed how you felt, you may already know. Even pets appear at risk for second-hand stress. Read more about how your dog's behavior reflects your mental health.
Looking back, I'm sure you recall a time when one person's mood affected everyone else in the room. Although, perhaps, you didn't associate it with a proximity effect. When you notice another's negative state rubbing off on you, or vice versa, try the "Two-Timing Stress Method":
Apply BOTH parts for the best effect. Switch the order of the method's timing if a situation is already well underway. One way or another, the Two-Timing Method looks like this:
The Two-Timing Method works well for all kinds of situations that raise your stress level. Now promise you won't make a habit of the method to avoid people, OK?
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