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News Mood harassment: sighing at the workplace


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Did work get you down? Try to catch yourself before letting the stress out with a sigh—it could be considered "mood harassment" by those around you.

Unintentional sighing has been described as "mood harassment" and "power harassment" on social media in Japan and is considered a "beam of negativity." Workers and workplaces should be mindful of their behaviour and consider how it affects others, aiming for a more positive and supportive environment.

How should workers and workplaces respond? Mainichi asked an expert dealing with workplace harassment:

According to Kaname Murasaki, who leads an association based in Osaka's Nishi Ward that helps companies with harassment-related issues, a single sigh in front of a specific individual does not fall into the category of harassment. However, even if unintentional, Murasaki contends that repeatedly sighing, along with things like face-making and lip-smacking, could be considered mood harassment, in which emotional distress is inflicted on the other person through moody facial expression, demeanour, and other nonverbal cues.

When a lousy mood permeates the workplace, it can affect the atmosphere and discourage employees from freely communicating. This carries a risk of lowered productivity and severe implications if the issues needing to be addressed are not identified. Murasaki warned, "'Perpetrators' are often unaware of their grumpy attitude and expressions. It's easy to look grim if you're concentrating, and it's good to remember that everyone can be a perpetrator."

While the national government does not define the concept of mood harassment, and nor is the behaviour legally regulated, Murasaki said that consultations have been on the rise. With the advancement of strategies to deal with power harassment and other issues, workplace communication has been dampened compared to the past, making it challenging for workers to warn each other. "As built-up fatigue and frustration unconsciously find their way into a person's facial expressions and attitudes, others take them as a new form of harassment," Murasaki conjectured.

As an adamant sigher, I believe in its stress-relieving effects. 😮‍💨

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