How to Deal With Toxic Work Stress Carriers
Are there any people where you work who are toxic stress carriers? These are people who are not just stressed-out themselves; they seem to have a life mission to spread stress to others. Toxic stress carriers remind me of Mary Mallon, who was also known as “Typhoid Mary.”
Starting in 1900, Typhoid Mary began infecting dozens of people with typhoid fever. She worked as a cook the families she prepared food for became very ill with typhoid. Although she had to change jobs frequently, due to each family becoming ill, she was convinced that she was not the cause. When an investigator confronted Mary with the facts, she grabbed a meat cleaver and chased the man out of her kitchen. Like most toxic stress carriers, Mary was convinced that she was not the problem and that people were just persecuting her.
Eventually, the authorities arrested Mary. She went to jail, kicking and screaming and cursing. She continued to deny that she was a carrier of typhus, even after it was proven with blood and stool samples. In fact, the authorities were never able to convince her she was a carrier of this dreaded disease.
At the insistence of the New York Health Department, Mary was quarantined. The authorities required her to live in isolation for several years and even provided her with a home. They finally allowed Mary to rejoin society in 1910, after she promised to never work as a cook again.
However, Mary quickly broke her promise. She secretly changed her name to Mary Brown and began working once again as a cook. She frequently changed cooking jobs. Over the next 5 years, she infected dozens of people, several of whom died painful deaths.
Like Typhoid Mary, toxic stress carriers are usually impossible to reason with. They spread their stress and negativity throughout the workplace like a contagious virus. As a coworker, you’ve probably had to interact with toxic stress carriers on a regular basis.
Toxic stress carriers go by various names, frantically spreading stress and anxiety. Wanda Worrier is always scattering negative gossip concerning the latest rumors of layoffs. Angry Al is always complaining about how he and everyone in the department are being treated unfairly by the manager. Bitter Bob is always complaining about how certain coworkers took credit for his ideas and are not doing their fair share of work.
Toxic work stress carriers are very challenging to deal with. In my experience, it is almost impossible to change these people. I recommend that you avoid these coworkers as much as possible. Do not talk to them unless it is absolutely necessary. Do not sit near them in the break room. Instead, socialize with your co-workers who are supportive and encouraging. If none of your coworkers are supportive, take a walk by yourself to get some fresh air and exercise. If the weather is bad, walk up and down the stairs or sit in your car and relax.
Avoid toxic stress carriers like the plague. By avoiding these toxic co-workers (as much as possible), you will have a happier and healthier life.
If you would like more tips for dealing with stress, download my free report and audio, “Tame Your Stress In 21 Days or Less.”