A new study from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business in Los Angeles suggests stress isn’t something you should keep to yourself.
Research published in Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests sharing your stress with someone who is having a similar emotional reaction may reduce stress levels more than sharing with someone who is not experiencing similar stress levels.
In the study, researchers measured participants’ emotional states, levels of the stress hormone cortisol and perception of threat when faced with the task of preparing and giving a videotaped speech. The 52 female undergraduate participants were divided into pairs and encouraged to discuss how they felt about the situation before giving their speeches.
Researchers found that when the pairs were in a similar emotional state, it helped buffer each individual against high levels of stress.
Their findings could be useful for people experiencing stress at work.
"For instance, when you're putting together an important presentation or working on a high-stakes project, these are situations that can be threatening and you may experience heightened stress,” study leader Sarah Townsend, assistant professor of management and organization at the USC Marshall School of Business, told Medical News Today. “But talking with a colleague who shares your emotional state can help decrease this stress."