Stress May Be Contagious!
Take steps to avoid this office bug!
Our new favorite source for wellness info, Greatist, shares a study revealing how our brains can
absorb co-workers’ emotions, behavioral traits, and facial expressions. Sitting next to a stressed colleague may remind us of our own worries, and we sometimes mimic coworkers’ slouched shoulders and frowns.
Which means second-hand stress can spread though an office just like the common cold!
Antibiotics and hand-washing won’t stop second-hand stress, so what should you do?
You could try one of Greatist’s 23 Scientifically Backed Ways to Reduce Stress or try to:
- Pay attention to your body language: We are programmed to sympathetically mimic other people’s body language and gestures. If you find yourself slumping at your desk because your co-worker is oozing stress – get up! Stand up, stretch, take a break and get away from the influence. When you come back be conscious of how you sit, and how you are presenting yourself to the world.
- Speak with your own voice: Again, we are programmed to mimic other people’s inflections and patterns of speech. If you find yourself being pulled in, disengage and get an infusion of positivity from someone else.
- Boo Hoo and Woo Hoo: Practice the Boo Hoo/Woo Hoo rule. “If you tell me something negative, you then have to tell me something positive before you go on with another negative.” It really works – and it can be helpful in meetings as well, when everyone wants to pile on the complaints.
Note: Women are often more in tune with other people’s emotion and are therefore more prone to contracting second-hand stress.
Don’t let the new office bug take out your office. Fight second-hand stress and be well at work!
Eliz Greene works busy people to improve heart health, so they can work well, feel better, and stress less.
She is a heart attack survivor and the author of the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart as well as 3 other books on wellness. She writes one of the top 50 health and wellness blogs and is a sought-after heart health, stress management, & wellness speaker.
If you are planning a women’s wellness program, workplace wellness program or programs for healthcare professionals check out EmbraceYourHeart.com to see if Eliz would be a good fit with your organization.