Using specific words can be a strong signifier that you're highly stressed out
It can be really hard to hide your feelings when your stress levels start to rise.
And while tense muscles, headaches and clenched teeth are all the tell-tale signs, it turns out there’s some more subtle giveaways too.
Recent research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that those whose genes indicated they may be stressed spoke less, but used more adverbs and adjectives.
The study, carried out by experts at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Arizona, Tucson, found many speech patterns linked to stress.
It involved 143 volunteers in the United States, who all wore voice recorders that switched on every couple of minutes for two days.
Professor Matthias Mehl, one of the researchers, transcribed any words the volunteers said during the clips, analysing the language they used.
The language was compared to the expression in their white blood cells of 50 genes influenced by stress.
And, according to the researchers, the volunteers’ language actually picked up on stress better than their personal assessment of whether or not they felt stress.
Those who are highly stressed tend to talk less overall, while using ore adverbs like “really” or “incredibly”.
The words, according to Mehl, may act as “emotional intensifiers”, indicating a higher state of arousal, according to Nature.
And people who are stressed out were also less likely to use any third-person plural pronouns, like their or they.
It’s thought that is because when people feel under threat, they’d be less likely to focus on others and the world outside them.