There are plenty of things that can stress us out, from work to family life. All sorts of things can be cause for concern, and we often find ourselves getting stressed or worked up quite a bit of the time. In fact, most of us could stand to spend less time getting worked up and more time looking at the good aspects of our lives.
Now, many of us also find that we’re getting stressed by things, but we actually don’t even realize it. The amazing thing about it is that stress can give away so many indicators, but we pay so little attention to them. Some people are very good at remaining calm, and prevent themselves from getting stressed out, but they are also often given away by how they feel. We bet you didn’t know that speech can be an indicator of how stressed you are!
The words you use
It’s true that the words you use can often give away the fact that you are feeling stressed and anxious. You might think you’re doing a good job of hiding it, but, according to scientists, you aren’t. Indeed, studies carried out in the United States has determined that speech is a good indicator of levels of stress and anxiety. In fact, if you use words like “really,” and “incredibly” a lot, these can be good indicators that you are experiencing stress, so you need to give yourself a break.
Subjects in the test were asked to wear audio recorders for 2 days that would make recordings of their daily interactions. These recordings were then transcribed by researchers, who studied the language that was used by the test subjects. With over 22,000 clips to analyze, it was possible to get some pretty accurate results. And this showed that those who were more stressed were quieter, but their choice of words was much more telling and revealed a lot. Indeed, it seems like function words are a good indicator of the stress levels a person is experiencing.
Another curious thing that cropped up during research was that people who were more stressed out were less likely to use third person pronouns, words like they and their. This is attributed to the fact that people’s viewpoint changes when they are stressed, and they become more self-absorbed. This isn’t because they are self-absorbed and vain, it’s just that it’s natural to think of yourself more when you are stressed out.
It’s not always conscious
The thing that has been proven in these studies is the fact that it is really easy to get stressed, and it’s not always a conscious thing. Much of the time we might be stressed, but we may not always realize that we are. In fact, our subconscious language is actually better at predicting our stress levels than self-assessment. This shows us that we are often stressed, but we don’t realize it, and it’s often not something we consciously access.
This reveals a lot about the link between stress and speech and throws up a few questions to consider. For instance, does stress affect our use of language, or it is actually vice versa? Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that there is a definite link, and now you know this you might be better equipped to identify that you’re stressed in the future.