Far out Friday: Smelling like an idiot and other fun side-effects of stress

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Stress is part and parcel of being a financial planner and, while we know full well that it’s bad for our health, it turns out it can also make you smell incompetent to those around you – particularly if you happen to be a woman.

New research has found that women who are stressed omit a smell that makes them come across as incompetent and untrustworthy to men. Scientists have proven that people’s perceptions of someone under pressure changes when they can smell stress sweat – which is different to the sweat caused from exercise or being hot.

Compared to exercise or heat-induced sweat, the sweat odour given off by a stressed woman is perceived by both sexes as unpleasant and causes them to judge the sweater as lacking in confidence and competence and as untrustworthy, reports the Daily Mail.

Scientists explain that exercise and heat sweat is produced from one type of sweat gland, whereas stress sweat comes from two and when those liquids mix with bacteria on the skin it makes a particularly foul smell.

However, smelling like an idiot isn’t the only unpleasant side-effect of being under pressure. We’ve compiled a list of five little-known stress facts below – and we should probably warn you that the following information is likely to stress you out:

  1. Stress is worse in some professions than in others (though you probably already guessed that): A recent study found the top most stressful jobs were:  surgeon, commercial airline pilot, photojournalist, advertising account executive, and real estate agent. The least stressful jobs were actuary, dietician, astronomer, systems analyst, and software engineer.
  2. Stress makes you look old: While it’s a myth that stress can turn hair grey, stress can cause hair loss. In fact, hair loss can start up to three months after a stressful event.
  3. Stress makes you fat: The stress hormone cortisol not only causes abdominal fat to build up, it also enlarges individual fat cells, leading to what researchers call ‘diseased’ fat.
  4. Stress makes you stupid: Chronic stress floods the brain with powerful hormones that are meant for short-term emergency situations. Chronic exposure can damage, shrink and kill brain cells.
  5. Stress can be invisible: You can be physiologically experiencing stress, yet mentally oblivious to it, because your brain’s become accustomed to it. Some people have become so adapted to stress that it can seem to be their natural state.