Stress is contagious -- protect yourself - FOX 35 News Orlando

Stress is contagious -- protect yourself

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) - When you see someone yawn, there is a good chance you'll be yawning soon too.

The same could be true for stress.

Dr. Stacey Dunn, a psychologist at UCF, said anytime we see someone who is stressed, they’re talking loudly and quickly. The content gets us going, like going to a good movie. We start getting stressed, too.

We have empathy, Dunn says, even if we’re not going through it ourselves.

How can someone protect themselves?

Dunn says be aware of it.

Instead of mirroring the person’s anxiety, decide to breathe deeply, and be a calming influence. Being calm, cool and collected can have an influence too, just as much as being stressed out.

You really have to learn, but not in moments of high stress, Dunn says.

 Even when someone is telling you a story about something, if a coworker is trying to fan the fire, remember to breathe, put your shoulders down -- because they’ll be tight – just do a body scan.

Keep the conversation flowing at a nice pace.

There are all sorts of ways we stress ourselves out -- different forms of media; certain talking heads. Know when it is time to get away from it. 

If you’re watching something really stressful before bed, you may lose sleep.

Be careful of who you watch on a screen and who you interact with before bedtime so you can fall asleep in a state of peace.

Exercise and eating right can also help. If we’re well rested and have good nutrition, it takes more to push us over the edge.

Take five minutes of just thinking of very little and being aware of your breath. You might stay a little cooler.

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