Nobody would be fond of people who go around gossiping about others. Gossip, for centuries have always been considered as a habit to be dismissed. Most people have a tendency to stay away from those who gossip, as it can destroy trust and damage reputations. However, did you know that there is a positive side to gossip as well? Scientists have found out that there is a type of gossip that can actually be beneficial to one’s health. This type of gossip, also known as “pro-social gossip”, which warns others of bad behavior or untrustworthy people, is found to cause a sense of emotional happiness as well as maintain social order. Unlike the type of gossip, where you just idle chat or spread unhealthy rumors about others, pro-social gossip helps in lowering stress, promoting generous behavior and also in preventing exploitation.
According to studies, gossip can be curative. It was found that the heart rates of people who participated in the study increased when they observed bad behavior from someone. However, this increase in heart rate was calmed when they were able to make others aware of this bad behavior. In fact, it made them feel better when they talked about the person who behaved badly. According to UC Berkeley social psychologist, Matthew Feinberg, there is no need to feel guilty, if your gossip helps to prevent your fellow beings from being exploited or taken advantage of. Gossip is helpful in making people learn how to comprehend social cues and also how to behave in a society far more efficiently and faster than by mere observation.
Benefits of gossip
Although gossiping is usually projected as one of the common attributes of women, it goes without saying that men are also equally interested and involved in gossip. So is it good or bad to gossip? Well, it somewhat depends upon what you are gossiping about. But scientific research confirms that most of the time, gossiping is good for health. Believe it or not, there are many health benefits of gossiping. Gossip has been shown to strengthen shared principles and values, increase the feeling of closeness, and improve community spirit, reinforce the bonds and relationships between friends, family and colleagues. It also helps in controlling the bullying or bad behavior of other people. Let’s have a detailed look into the many benefits of gossiping:
Gossip strengthens social bonds
Talking and sharing your feelings and emotions with someone will not only make you feel happy but also provides a sense of emotional balance. Since you will be gossiping with someone that you feel the most safe and comfortable with, the trust between you and that person increases. As you rely on that person to keep the information between just the two of you, your bonding with that individual also increases.
Gossip relieves stress
In this fast paced world everyone experiences mental stress due to one reason or the other. Gossip has been found to be an immense stress reliever as it helps in increasing the levels of feel-good hormones like serotonin. According to studies, gossiping also increases hormone – progesterone, which makes women much happier and reduces stress and anxiety. Gossip can act as a healthier and better way of releasing your feelings and emotions, as opposed to expressing your frustration, anger and hurt in physical and more dangerous ways.
Gossip can ward off depression
Studies have shown that a few minutes of gossiping can relax your mind and help relieve depression. Listening to the problems of others can make people realize that anything can happen to anyone and that your problems are not that big a deal after all. Moreover, gossip also gives you a feeling of belonging, which helps in improving your confidence as well as in increasing your sense of wellbeing.
Gossip helps us gather information
Gossip always need not be useless and uninformative talk. It is possible that you can gather a lot of information with the small chit-chats with friends and families. It also enables us to draw together useful information about the behavior and characters of other people, which in turn helps us to protect ourselves from cheats, liars and dangerous people. Gossiping helps us to modify ourselves according to what is expected of us from the society. Gossip, when carried out in an ethical and conscious can be considered as an amazing information gathering tool.
Gossip improves your mood
Studies reveal that, gossiping helps in enhancing your mood as the pleasure centers in your brain are stimulated, which triggers the release of endorphins. Getting together with friends and family and gossiping may not only strengthen the bonds, but can also improve your mood.
Gossiping is entertaining
Gossiping is a great source of entertainment. Spending time with the people close to you and engaging in chit-chats can keep your mind relaxed and make you happy.
Gossip at work place can improve performance
Studies have found that non-malicious gossip in the workplace can actually help in boosting the work performance. The informal work discussions can create positive working relationships among the individuals that are very important for the effective functioning of the business, which in turn leads to improved business outcomes. According to a study, conversations allow people to properly understand their colleagues as well as their actions in the workplace. As a result there is improvement in judgment about actions, which leads to more strong decision making abilities and possibly improved work performance.
Gossiping can prevent bullying and promote cooperation
According to scientists, gossip can be beneficial for the society. A study suggested that the exchange of idle talk can embarrass cheats and bullies and prompt them into changing their behavior. The researchers found that when people get to know about the actions or behavior of others, they put the information to good use by choosing to side with individuals who are considered to be co-operative.
Gossip is somewhat vital to human life
Studies have revealed that gossiping is done by people of both genders and of all ages. In fact, anthropologists and sociologists consider it to be an essential part of social life, closeness, and emotional health. It is an exceptional means of connection and communication between individuals that helps impart knowledge of the informal rules and regulations of a social group. It is also helpful in making people aware of any kinds of threats to your relationships and security, which enables them to take the necessary actions to thwart the problem.
Gossiping is enjoyable and for some people it’s just a stress buster or a way of having fun. It promotes social bonding because you trust the person with whom you gossip not to disclose the information. Needless to say this trust is mutual. Isn’t it interesting to know that what was once frowned upon and dismissed as idle chatter is actually good for your psychological and social health? But that doesn’t mean that all forms of gossip are good. Malicious gossip that is intended to hurt or harm others should always be discouraged. If you can understand the information gathering, stress relieving, and social bonding opportunities that gossip can offer, you will be able to convert it into a communication tool that will help improve your relationships and principles.Image Credits: Flickr - Thomas Shahan