Providing help to others during stressful moments could alleviate the impact of stress on your emotional well-being.
The Lagos State Government recently disclosed that over 99 per cent of commercial bus drivers are hypertensive due to traffic congestion and environmental pollution in the state.
In a study published by Bloomberg, ranking 74 countries based on the stress in the living environment, Nigeria and Norway ranks the most and the least stressful countries respectively.
According to the estimate, 70.1% of Nigerians are living under stress. How does it feel to learn that you live in one of the most stressed out countries in the world? If not find out the ranking of the country where you reside. “Most Stressed-Out: Countries – Bloomberg Best(and Worst). Whatever your findings are, this research might help.
“Stressful days usually lead us to have a worse mood and poorer mental health, but a research findings suggest that if we do small things for others, such as holding a door open for someone, we won’t feel as poorly on stressful days.”
According to the researchers, previous lab-based experiments have shown that providing support to others can help individual’s better deal with stress, increasing their positive emotions.
In order to verify the finding, a group of 77 adults between the ages of 18-44yrs constantly received an automated phone reminder for 14 days, reminding them to complete a daily assessment and report on
1. Any stressful life events they experienced daily
2. Any helpful behaviors for the day, for example, opening or holding an open door, helping someone with school work or asking someone if they needed help.
3. The participants also completed a 10-item questionnaire for the Positive and Negative Affect Scale – which is a measure of experienced emotion – they also rated their mental health daily on a scale from 0-100 (poor to excellent).
4. The team tallied the total number of stressful events to determine each individual’s daily stress measurement.
According to the researchers, they ensured that the participants did not have substance dependencies, diagnosed mental illness or cognitive impairment –
“Overall, results showed that helping others increased the participants’ well-being, and a larger number of helping behaviors was linked with higher scores of daily positive emotion and better mental health”.
There were two categories of report from Participants;
Those who reported low helping behavior, reported lower positive emotion and higher negative emotion in relation to daily stresses
While those who reported higher-than-usual levels of helping behavior showed no decreases in positive emotion of mental health in relation to daily stress.
In conclusion “Our research shows that when we help others, we can also help ourselves,”
Further study needed
According to the researchers further studies need to be conducted to determine whether their findings will remain across more ethnically and culturally diverse populations.
They would like to determine whether intentionally promoting helping behavior as a way for people to improve their mood and mental health could be an avenue for mood and mental health improvement.
“This would help clarify whether prescribing prosocial behaviors can be used as a potential intervention to deal with stress, particularly in individuals who are experiencing depressed mood or high acute stress.”
A study published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science and led by Emily Ansell of the Yale University School of Medicine in Connecticut