Stressed, moi? – How we absorb stress

How we unconsciously absorb other people’s stress

‘We can pick up negativity, stress, and uncertainty like secondhand smoke.’

In their article Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan define the concept of ‘secondhand stress’.

A stress which originates from people around us and that is so contagious that it infects our nervous system straight away, spreading anxiety to even the coolest of our neurones.

“Most people have experienced spending time with someone who triggers a stress response just by walking in the door.”

The ability to perceive stress in our environment is due to our atavistic brain, which has been wired to detect potential threats around us. As human beings, we are designed to unconsciously pick up any subtle variations around us such as changes in heart rate or breath rate which impact us down to our core cellular level.

From nasty comments on social media to horrific news 24/7 in the press, nothing is spared from us in our uber-connected world. The authors explain how we can develop anti secondhand stress strategies to help us cope with the ever-present anxiety in our lives. Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan give us practical tips to help us make a conscious effort and shift our mindset from negative to positive thinking and boost our emotional immune system.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘easier said than done !’ But still worth a try no ?


For more information on this post:

Shaun Achor:

The Happiness Advantage

Before Happiness

TED talk


Michelle Gielan :

Broadcasting Happiness.




Please let me know what you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: