In a recent study in Nature Neuroscience , Jaideep Bains and his team at the Cumming School of Medicine's Hotchkiss Brain Institute, at the University of Calgary have revealed that stress someone from your surrounding have may be contagious to you and change the brain in the same way as if it is your own stress.
The study was conducted on pairs of male and female mice and showed that brain is dynamic and responds to things that happen in the surrounding or things that are part of their organism. They took away one mouse from each pair and put them in hard stress before taking back to their pair. Then they examined the responses of a specific cell, CRH neurons which control the brain's response to stress. The results were shocking: each mouse's, stressed and non-stressed reacted in the same way.
"What was remarkable was that CRH neurons from the partners, who were not themselves exposed to an actual stress, showed changes that were identical to those we measured in the stressed mice," commented the author of the study T. Sterley.
When scientists silenced the neurons in the partner using light during its interaction with a stressed individual, the stress did not transfer to the partner. That means that the activation of these CRH neurons weakens the chemical signal to produce "alarm pheromones" that transfers to another mouse.
The scientists suppose that such effects may also be present in humans' mind. Luckily, with people, things are much simpler. Although we can not live without interaction with in the society, there are a plenty of ways to cope with stress and not "get infected". For instance , sport, exercises, meditation or taking calming tea.