What if kindness, sympathy, and sociability were very effective responses to the negative effects of stress? These attitudes seem in any case associated with real benefits.
The objective of this study: to determine the extent to which prosocial behavior reduces negative emotional responses to stress on a daily basis. Said this way, it sounds a bit abstract. The idea, in fact, is that kindness, friendliness, being nice and open, could help limit the consequences of the stressful episodes we all experience.
The study was spread over two weeks and concerned people aged 18 to 44 years. An American team (Yale University) asked them to note each evening the stressful events of the day (professional, family, social, financial…), as well as their prosocial attitudes (mutual aid, friendliness, openness…). The degree of stress was assessed, as well as its repercussions.
The results show that there is a clear association between the frequency of prosocial behavior and the effects of stress on positive and negative emotions, and on mental health in general. To put it another way, gestures of sympathy reduce the impact of stress on our emotional functioning.