Hurtful Words Can Cause Stress

By Rosanne Ullman | 07/27/2014 2:18:00 PM


We all have feelings, and sometimes our feelings get hurt. Now science is showing that hurt feelings can stress us out! How team members treat each other has come under the microscope in a recent study at UCLA, which concludes that being told by a peer that you’re “annoying” or “boring” is enough to increase inflammation caused by stress, according to Keely Muscatell, PhD, a researcher at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholars program at the University of California (UC), San Francisco and UC, Berkeley.

click image to zoomCredit: Getty Images

So what can you do about this type of stress? Try to let it roll off your back. Muscatell says that studies indicate that inflammation causing stress may correlate with higher activity in the amygdala—the “emotional center” of your brain. The age-old advise to improve your attitude may be valid.

“Just changing the way you think in a stressful situation can calm down the amygdala and possibly stop inflammation from increasing,” Muscatell says. “A number of studies suggest that reframing the way you think during a stressor...can ‘turn down’ an overactive amygdala.”

Specific strategies Muscatell recommends include:

*Label your emotions.

*Think about a loved one.

*Write about your stressors in a journal.

*Provide help and support for someone else, which will take the focus away from your own issues.






ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosanne Ullman

Rosanne Ullman, Project Editor | Modern Salon Media

Rosanne has been writing for the salon division of Vance Publishing for more than 30 years, contributing landmark articles ranging from a year-long historical series in the 1990s marking MODERN SALON's 75th anniversary to a more recent, comprehensive tribute to Vidal Sassoon's impact on the industry. She was involved in the conceptual planning for First Chair and has directed several of Modern Salon Media's custom publishing projects. Rosanne holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University's famed Medill School and contributes to her community through three elected terms on her local school board.

Rosanne is our go-to provider for Modern Salon Media's Healthy Hairdresser e-newsletter. You can e-mail Rosanne Ullman at


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