Stress by Proxy

Stop Suffering from Stress by Proxy

Jen Roberts Stress

The boss walks into the conference room and slams down his notepad on the table. Startled, nearly everyone around the table jumps. As he sits down, he angrily demands to know why the project is so far behind schedule. The tension in the room is palpable. The person to my client’s left starts tapping her pencil nervously. I notice that people are fidgeting, rocking in their chairs, and breathing shallowly. This is a classic stress reaction. When you walk into a room and notice a negative “vibe” that makes you feel anxious, you’re not imagining things. Other people’s emotions can have a huge impact on us, especially those of our co-workers and family members. This happens in part because of mirror neurons. Our brains are actually wired to understand and mirror the feelings and actions of others. For the same reason that you yawn when you see someone else yawn, …