How ‘chismis’ can be detrimental to your health

Let’s face it, many of us gossip. The gossip culture is deeply rooted among Pinoys. Whether young or old, rich or poor, male or female, Pinoys enjoy their share of juicy gossip. From showbiz gossip to unrestrained conversations about other people, chismis chains are everywhere – home, school, workplace, social gatherings, and so on. With the advent of social media channels like Facebook, people also turn to online platforms to dish on other people’s private stuff. On their own, rumors may seem like a harmless pastime, but there are malicious rumors that can be downright humiliating and painful. The latter can affect an individual’s health.

Impact of gossip on health

“Fake news” can affect your emotions. Oftentimes, it can make you feel helpless, agitated, and angry, especially if you’re the subject of it. Depending on the gravity of the rumor, it can have negative effects on your wellness.

Medical experts claim that gossip can take its toll on one’s health, especially when gossip has the potential to damage a person’s reputation, career, and livelihood. Here are some negative effects of “chismis”:

Exhaustion

Anxiety

Depression

Sometimes when gossip is left uncontrolled, situations can turn ugly and lead to ostracizing behavior, aggression, and consequently physical violence. 

Furthermore, medical experts also warn that gossiping can result in the following long-term physical and mental health issues.

Guilt

Panic attacks

Clinical depression

Posttraumatic stress disorder

Suicide

Safeguard yourself against gossip

Here are some recommended ways to shield yourself from the detrimental effects of gossip.

Stay away from Marites

First of all, who is ‘Marites’? In Filipino pop culture, the name ‘Marites’ is associated with someone who spreads rumors and fake news. In other words, ‘chismosa’. A Maritess thrives on tittle-tattle. He/she will grab any opportunity to spread gossip, without thinking if the information can be hurtful or not. With the help of the Internet, a Maritess can utilize social media to spread rumors and fake news like wildfire.  

Furthermore, a Maritess is an ‘energy vampire’. It means that a person who spreads gossip about you or other people can leave you emotionally drained and feeling depleted. A Maritess often feeds on a person’s willingness to listen to them. It can be anyone – a friend, neighbor, boss, co-worker, client, or relative. Be careful because a Martiess is often charismatic and he/she may weave his/her charm on you. Before you know it, a Martiess can be monopolizing your time, impeding your productivity, telling you lies, and feeding you with negative vibes. 

Preserve your energy and protect your health by staying away from Maritess and their toxic behavior. Moreso, disassociating yourself from a Maritess can safeguard your productivity and peace of mind.

Let it go

Sometimes, addressing the issue can be energy-consuming. If you’re the subject of a rumor that you think is not worth addressing, then it is probably better not to do so. Do not engage and just cut off the person who is spreading rumors about you. You can reject the individual’s calls and text messages. You can even block him/her on social media.

Set the record straight

Some people may prefer to directly confront the person spreading the “fake news”. This can be an opportunity to express your feelings and illustrate the impact of that person’s behavior. In this approach, it’s recommended to address the person calmly and in a non-confrontational way. Furthermore, avoid blaming or accusing.

Report it

If you’re the target of malicious gossip on social media, It’s probably best not to respond to the post. Instead, report the abusive content on the platform so it can be taken down due to violation of their terms of service. Practice social media self-care by unfollowing, unfriending, or blocking that person on that platform. That way, you have better control over what pops up on your timeline.

Avoid engaging in gossip

“Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you.” – Confucius

While it may seem normal to engage in “chismis” from time to time, keep in mind that passing personal information about others can be hurtful. Avoid gossip as much as possible. If someone starts a conversation involving a rumor, change the topic or make an excuse to leave the conversation. If despite your best efforts, gossip still finds a way to reach you, do not judge that person based on unconfirmed information, and do not contribute to the gossip by sharing it with others.

Say no to gossip to nurture your health

Malicious gossip can cause exhaustion, anxiety, and depression. Medical experts warn that gossiping may also lead to long-term physical and mental health issues. Nurture your health by safeguarding yourself from gossip. First, stay away from gossip spreaders (a.k.a. Maritess). You also have the choice of whether to let it go if the rumor is not worth addressing or calmly confront the issue. Concerning gossip on social media, you can report it on the platform to have it taken down. Last but not least, say no to “fake news” by not participating in it or spreading it. 


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