Researchers: Wash your hands of stress, because it’s contagious

Job stress can come from a variety of factors, from in-office competitiveness to public interaction and physical danger. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON – The stress you carry around can do more than make you tense — researchers say it can spread to those around you.

The StarTribune reports secondhand stress can travel in social networks, being passed on from friends, coworkers and even strangers.

“It’s kind of like a tuning fork,” Debra Safyre, who runs a personal and group energy management company, told the StarTribune.

“When you hit a tuning fork, everything around it starts vibrating with it. It’s the same thing with stress. If stress is a very strong vibration around you, you’re going to start reacting to it.”

But stress isn’t just uncomfortable, it can have long-term impacts on health, including problems with the heart and headaches. So, while it can sometimes provide an energy boost that aids in emergency problem solving, it must be kept in check.

Researchers say one way to reduce stress is to find a coping mechanism. This can be anything from an object that generates positive thoughts to identifying what’s stressful and moving away from it.

For more information and tips, visit

WTOP’s Herma Percy contributed to this report.

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