Our Voice Can Show We’re Stressed (Even When We Don’t Know It)

Everyone deals with stressful moments in their lives. From burnout at work to how we deal with arguments in our relationships, we can’t avoid it.

This stress can manifest itself in a number of ways. Classic symptoms include headaches, trouble sleeping, persistent fatigue and chest pains, but other signs include pimples and other skin problems, trembling limbs and dark circles under the eyes.

Now, new research has found that stress can also change your voice.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, asked 111 people, ages 19 to 59, to keep speech diaries over a seven-day period.

Recordings of people who spoke every night after work were analyzed by the researchers over the course of a week. Participants were asked to report both the stressors they experienced that day and their perceived stress levels.

Marked changes were seen on the days when people reported more stressors, researchers found. Participants spoke faster and more intensely when they had stress that day, regardless of how stressed they felt.

In other words, we don’t always know how stressed we actually are – but our voice might give the game away. And the reason for these changes?

Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, which leads to the production of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, explains Dr. Markus Langer, study author from Saarland University in south-west Germany.

This affects several bodily functions, including our voice. Our Voice Can Show We’re Stressed (Even When We Don’t Know It)

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