Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
If you get scared when you go skydiving, perhaps a good way to cope is to team up with someone who feels the same. A new study suggests sharing your feelings of stress with someone having a similar emotional reaction to the same situation reduces levels of stress more than sharing them with someone who is not.
Study leader Sarah Townsend, assistant professor of management and organization at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business in Los Angeles, says their findings could be helpful 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. But talking with a colleague who shares your emotional state can help decrease this stress."
She and her colleagues invited 52 female undergraduates to take part in a study on public speaking where they had to prepare and give a speech that would be recorded on video.
Before giving their speeches, the participants were placed in pairs and encouraged to discuss with each other how they felt about the situation.
The researchers measured the participants' emotional states, and how threatening they perceived giving a speech to be. They also took measures of the stress hormone cortisol, before, during and after the speeches.
The results, write the authors, "show that sharing a threatening situation with a person who is in a similar emotional state, in terms of her overall emotional profile, buffers individuals from experiencing the heightened levels of stress that typically accompany threat."
"Confirming our hypotheses, greater initial dyadic emotional similarity was associated with a reduced cortisol response and lower reported stress among participants who feared public speaking."
In other words, says Prof. Townsend, imagine you are facing a stressful situation at work, perhaps an important project with a lot riding on it, then interacting with a co-worker with "a similar emotional profile can help reduce your experience of stress."
Prof. Townsend now wants to extend the scope of the research to look at how developing emotional similarity might help people from different cultural backgrounds who have to work together, for example as employees or students.
She also urges professionals to think about the importance of emotional similarity and consider questions like: "How do we get people to be more similar? What can you do to generate this emotional similarity with a co-worker? Or, as a manager, how can you encourage emotional similarity among your team?"
Researchers who spoke recently at a conference of the British Psychological Society urged employers to take note of the importance of emotion at work. They said employers who offer schemes that support workers' well-being outside the workplace may reap benefits during working hours.
Written by Catharine Paddock PhD
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without the permission of Medical News Today.
Are You Feeling What I'm Feeling? Emotional Similarity Buffers Stress; Sarah S. M. Townsend, et al., Social Psychological and Personality Science DOI: 10.1177/1948550613511499, published online 17 December 2013, Abstract.
Additional source: USC Marshall School of Business news release via EurekAlert 29 January 2014.
Visit our Anxiety / Stress category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
Paddock, Catharine. "Stress reduces when shared." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 30 Jan. 2014. Web.
9 Mar. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271926>
Paddock, C. (2014, January 30). "Stress reduces when shared." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
If you write about specific medications, operations, or procedures please do not name healthcare professionals by name.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271926.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2014 All rights reserved. MNT (logo) is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.