Sharing Too Much
You know how hard it is to stay happy and calm when your spouse comes home a grumpy mess? Well, for some women, mirroring their spouse's emotions can actually develop into serious health problems. New research into "emotional poisoning" finds that some women (yes, it seems to happen mostly to women), experience increases in blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol when they are around a spouse who is experiencing depression, anxiety, or stress.
Though scientists don't fully understand what causes it, they do know that when some women witness their spouse's bad moods, "mirror neurons" in their brains become activated and recreate the emotions of their mate in their own minds. It's an evolutionary response that helps us understand our mates' nonverbal cues and emotional state, but taking on too much of your partner's troubles can wreak havoc on your health. Depression depletes your immune system and can increase your risk for cardiovascular events.
What you can do
If someone in your family is experiencing anxiety, stress or depression, help them find support and resources outside of the family so that a professional can help you both handle it. Depression and anxiety are medical conditions the same as high blood pressure and diabetes, and they often require treatment.
You've Heard of Secondhand Smoke...
But did you know that third-hand smoke could be putting your family's health at risk right now? That's right, even if you never smoke when family members are in the room or go outside to light up, over 40 million Americans are still being exposed to dangerous chemicals in the form of third-hand smoke.
Secondhand smoke is the kind you can see (and that you are directly inhaling) when someone near you is smoking. Third-hand smoke consists of the particles that come from the smoke and ash that land on your clothes, furniture, hair, and other surfaces. They interact with chemicals in the air and become carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).
Researchers are now discovering that when your spouse and other family members inhale those particles, it can cause some of the same health problems as second or first-hand smoke.
What can you do
We know it's hard to hear, but what we're saying is that even smoking away from loved ones is not enough to protect their health (you'd have to strip all your clothes off, wash them immediately, and scrub yourself down in the shower after every smoke break). To really protect them, you need to stop smoking entirely. We don't expect you to quit cold turkey, however. You can follow Dr. Oz's Kick the Habit Plan so that you and your family can begin living a healthier life right now.