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During Times of Extreme Stress, Share Good News

Soldiers who shared good news with their loves ones had better physical and mental health.

by Meredith Rutland Bauer
Jan 20 2017, 2:00pm

Image: BookBabe/Pixabay

A new study on US soldiers and their families has some great advice on how to handle stress during particularly difficult times.

Sharing good news with loved ones can boost your mood—and theirs—even in tough times, according to a study presented this week at the 2017 Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention. The study, funded by the US Department of Defense, found that military spouses who shared good news with each other while one or both were deployed had lower stress and better overall well-being.

It may seem impossible given our intense Facebook conversations and angry Twitter feeds, but sharing good news during tough times can help you sleep better, feel less lonely and have better response to intimacy. All of these habits lead to a more fulfilled and happy life, researchers noted.

But it's not just sharing the good news, it's how you receive it. The scientists said the person hearing the good news had to respond positively for both parties to feel better about their circumstances.

"When you share something good, and the recipient of information is actively happy for you, it heightens the positive experience for both parties," said Sarah Arpin, a Gonzaga University social psychologist involved in the study, in a release. "However, when someone 'rains on your parade,' that can have negative consequences."

The research is part of the Study for Employment Retention of Veterans, which aims to improve veteran retention in the workforce and overall well-being of veterans who experience trauma, depression and other mental health issues while on duty and afterward.

"Very few studies have examined daily relationship processes among military couples, who may be particularly vulnerable to relationship difficulties post-deployment," Arpin said.

While most of our everyday trials aren't as stressful as actual warzones, the concept is possibly transferable to a high-pressure job, a difficult home life or political chaos. So get out there and share a good story—most of us could really use one.

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