Nobody likes to feel stressed constantly. It can have so many negative impacts not just on your mind but also on your body. But a new study has found that despite all of its negative impacts, stress can still manage to benefit people. People who experience stress are apparently more likely to give and receive support from other people. And this proved to be true on the day they experienced stress as well as on the following day.
“Our findings suggest that just because we have a bad day, that does not mean it has to be completely unhealthy,” said David Almeida, the lead researcher of the study. “If stress can actually connect us with other people, which I think is absolutely vital to the human experience, I think that is a benefit. Stress could potentially help people deal with negative situations by driving them to be with other people,” Almeida added.
“Looking at the current research, I realised that a lot of studies looked at how emotional support is beneficial to other health outcomes. But not many looked at the determinants of social support,” said another researcher Hye Won Chai. “We thought that stress could be a facilitator in these interpersonal exchanges,” he added.
Nearly 1,622 people were interviewed for the study for a period of 8 nights and they were asked about what were the stressors they faced and how these affected them in terms of giving and receiving support. It was found that the participants were twice as more likely to give or receive support on the day that they experienced stress.
“Women tended to engage in more giving and receiving emotional support than men,” Chai said. “This supports previous findings that women tend to seek more emotional support from other people when they are stressed. In our study, men were also more likely to engage in emotional support on days they were stressed, but to a lesser extent than women,” Chai added.
“We saw that someone experiencing a stressor today actually predicted them giving emotional support the next day,” Almeida said. “This made me think that it is actually possible that stress helps to drive you to other people and allows it to be ok to talk about problems -- your problems, my problems,” Almeida added.
“The findings suggest that an intervention geared toward social interaction rather than individual may be very beneficial. If we are naturally being drawn toward other people when we are stressed to get help, then interventions may benefit by incorporating the people around us,” Almeida further said.