Stress Spreads Among Office Workers Like A Cold
November 10, 2011

Stress Spreads Among Office Workers Like A Cold

Is the mood around your workplace becoming more tense? The problem may be more than daily work pressures. Elaine Hatfield, a psychologist from the University of Hawaii has discovered that stress can be contagious and that second-hand anxiety is easily passed from person to person, Deborah Arthurs of the Daily Mail reports.

“People seem to be capable of mimicking others´ facial, vocal, and postural expressions with stunning rapidity,” Hatfield told Arthurs. “As a consequence, they are able to feel themselves into those other emotional lives to a surprising extent.”

People are social sponges, soaking up emotions emitted by those around us. Absorbing stress from others, we begin focusing on the things that are troubling us too, the constant stream of discontent acting as a depressant, reports Hannah Thomas for Marie Claire.

People not only take on negative attitudes from those around us but we also subconsciously mimic their stressed out body language, causing us to hunch our shoulders and frown when talking to them.

“Women are more at risk because they tend to be more in tune to other people´s feelings,” Hatfield adds. “In conversation, people automatically and continuously mimic and synchronize their movements with the facial expressions, voices, postures, movements, and instrumental behaviors of others.”

With stress a bigger issue than ever in the workplace - the UK´s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development recently dubbed it the “Black Death of the 21st Century”, there is a very real risk of second-hand or passive stress becoming a potential danger to Britain´s workers.


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