The festive season is typically a typically a time for fun and laughter, but with presents to buy, family to see and work to do before the holidays, it can also be a time where your stress levels hit an all-time high. Over the past weeks we've been talking about stress — what causes it, things you can do to manage it etc. — but new research conducting by UCLA has shown there's a new simple way of reducing stress levels and it's even in keeping with the Christmas spirit!
The study featured 20 young couples, all in happy relationships. The guys were given small electric shocks while their girlfriends had to sit and watch, only being allowed to comfort them and offer support sometimes. Findings suggest that "support-giving may have stress-reducing effects for the person who provides the support," according to Assistant Professor Naomi Eisenberger, who lead the study. For those who like their science:
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"Activity in the septal area during support-giving was negatively correlated with activity in the amygdala, which is a region known to play a role in fear and stress responses. If there is something about support-giving that leads to reductions in amygdala activity, this suggests that support-giving itself may have stress-reducing properties."
It sounds complicated but the message is simple enough — helping others is good for you.