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And maybe Gross picks up on that - all spongy-like - and decides to throw me a bone: “Having said that, I would certainly agree that lots of people are stressed, and there are many polarizing and upsetting things happening in the world.We are now much more aware on a day-to-day basis of world events than ever before.It’s actually a very common experience to see yourself as living in a particularly stressful period.” What are you saying?“I guess I’m questioning the premise that we are living in necessarily more stressful times.” I feel oddly deflated.Now, with our various communication devices, we are never far from all sorts of bad news.” The other key idea is that even though we feel that negative emotions may be entirely out of our control, we have considerable control over the emotions and stress that we feel.According to Gross, you can exert emotional control and regulation in a few extremely effective ways.

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Gross suggests trying deep breathing or relaxation techniques to keep your body calm.

In one classic study, 2- to 4-day-olds responded to the emotional distress of other newborns by crying as well. “For example, in a town where people think there’s been an outbreak and begin reacting with similar symptoms, even though it’s later found out there was no outbreak.” If you can have that kind of contagion within a city or town, it’s conceivable that it could affect a larger population as well.

They did not respond similarly when they heard a synthetic cry. “We also know that following 9/11, even some people who didn’t experience the actual events were affected by post-traumatic stress.

“I have always kind of suspected that,” she says, “ever since in ' Ghostbusters II,' when the guys discover that people’s nonstop negativity has created an evil slime that threatens humanity.

Then they find out the slime reacts to both positive and negative emotions, so they have a bunch of New Yorkers hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’ to it in Central Park or something. The slime dissolves.” I’m sort of speechless, though the comparison is oddly compelling.

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