I was having a conversation with some friends about how one uses the expression "diffusing the tension" to describe making an environment less stressful. You can guess that I immediately connected this to my Chemistry of Life analogies. So today, you can hear all about tension and how "diffusing the tension" is an expression that really does make sense.
When something gets stressful, one notices the tension increasing. Let's use pressurum from my new periodic table of feeling elements (which I need to update onto my blog, as I realized there were problems with my old one), abbreviated as Prs, as our example.
What one needs to realize is that there are always lots of Prs atoms in the room, floating around, doing nothing. They're all spread out, as if they were gases. When something gets stressful, they clump together and form double bonds (meaning they bond with each other) to form molecules of pressure/tension/stress. Their presence is now felt more by people in the room, because the concentration in an area seems much greater.
While the Prs atoms form molecules, they also release heat, like a normal reaction. That's why some people get sweaty or nervous as the stress in the system increases. The Prs molecules themselves stop moving around so much and clump up together, like solids, and keep releasing heat.
There are ways to diffuse the tension. If someone new comes into the room who is not stressed, they usually become a bit nervous or pressured by looking at the situation. What's really happening is that the Prs molecules are going from an area from high tension to low tension, and start to spread out a bit more. As they continue to do so, the molecules diffuse by using energy in the environment (so people are not sweating anymore). The concentration of Prs molecules balances out again.
This is applicable to real cases. When people keep thoughts bottled up to themselves, they become more stressed. If they share their thoughts with others, the Prs molecules spread out and diffuse to others, which may cause them to be a bit stressed, but not as much, and it helps both people to interact with each other.
This cycle repeats again and again, with tension building up and then getting released.
I know this was a bit complicated, but I hope you understood why people can use the term "diffusing the tension" now in relation to science! Stay tuned for more chemistry of life if you enjoyed this one :).