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.
2 Responses to “Is Stress the New Office Bug?”
I think stress comes from all angles. As a professional web designer and marketing director, staying busy is what I do best, but as for stress it always seems to catch up. I think my most prominent move was getting out of a stressful office full of more stress as you have mentioned in this post. Keeping stress and bad habits around you tend to eventually get to you, no matter how willful you are. Anyways great post, looking forward to more on stress relief. BOOKMARKED!
Thanks for the comments – glad you found the article helpful!