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.

Hurtful Words Can Cause Stress

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.