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Cough, cough...I'm coming down with a case of stress

My left eye is twitching.

I didn't think that I was stressed out (because, I'm not busy anymore or anything), but my eye is twitching and that is a sure sign from my body that I am stressed. It happens whenever I have too much going on, or too much stuff on my to-do list. It's always my left eye, too...but I digress.

The point is, that I am experiencing signs of stress, but I'm reluctant to tell anyone. Mostly, because stress is contagious.


You already know how this works, but we'll talk about it anyway. You have the normal stresses that you are used to in your everyday life: work, children, money, what's for dinner. Then you talk to some family and you hear about their stress. Now, because you are human and empathetic, your body is reacting to their stresses. Then you talk to friends and hear about their life stress and more stress hormones are released in your body.

It seems unfair, but researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Dresden University of Technology have confirmed that human-to-human contact isn't necessary for you to take on another person's stress. So, that means you can experience someone else's stress through a phone call. Or even a text.

Since we can't avoid friends and family (well, not for long), we need to work on finding ways to relieve stress. Stress-busters that work for me may not work for everyone, but this is what I find helpful.

  • Challenge your energy elsewhere. Everyone needs a hobby that they enjoy. Whether that is collecting references to four o'clock in the morning, leaving conversation cards for others to find or woodworking, be productive with your energy.
  • Hang out with positive people. I do my best to not be around grumpy people. Scientists at UC San Diego recently found that a single grumpy post online led to an average of 1.29 more grumpy posts from friends. Positive posts yielded 1.75 more. Happy is good.
  • Finish things on your to-do list. Crossing something off = feeling better.
  • Fresh air. I run. I don't like it most of the time, but it gets me outside and I rarely regret doing it.

I want my son to learn positive ways to deal with stress, and what better way to show him than by example?

What about you? What stress-busters work for your life? (And does anyone know how to stop a twitching eye?) Tell me in the comments.

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