We’ve talked about how complaining can spread like wildfire. Constant complaining is damaging to those around you. Fortunately, the opposite is also true. Contentment is contagious, too. Your close circle will benefit when you’re optimistic, upbeat and happy. You can’t go wrong when you ditch that venting for more proactive and positive solutions. When you’re content, the mood will spread. Keep reading to discover how it works.
We Mimic Emotions
Scientists have studied the tendency of humans to mimic the facial expressions of others around them, and it’s been shown that the emotions associated with these expressions are also copied. The reason for this occurrence is because our brains are wired, in a sense, to interpret and take on those feelings as our very own. The technical term for catching another’s emotions is “emotional contagion.”
It Can Be a Good Thing
The word “contagion” may have a negative connotation to it, but that isn’t necessarily always the case. The thing we “catch” doesn’t necessarily have to be something bad or a thing we wouldn’t want to get. Contentment and other positive states can be transmitted from person to person, as well. Research on this phenomenon spans across various realms. It has been shown to occur in individuals, but it’s also seen in teams and other group environments, even happening through digital methods such as social media.
Knowing that the company you keep, even through virtual means such as in online social networks, has such an impact on your emotions should give you motivation to choose your tribe wisely. The same can be said for choosing the type of vibe you put out into the world. When you are mindful in deciding to cut down on the complaining and focus on the positive instead, you’re changing both your own mood, outlook and energy along with those of the people who come in contact with you. There has been a great deal of research that demonstrates the ways in which people living in close quarters like roommates, families and spouses pick up on each other’s emotions. It makes sense to be careful of both the individuals you allow to be near you, as well as the ways in which you interact with those people. Choosing positivity always has a better chance of leading to contentment than complaining, venting or other means of spreading negativity.
Now that you have a general understanding of the ways in which emotions can be contagious, you can move forward armed with that information and ready to use it in a strategic way. When you feel your emotions beginning to sink, but you’re not sure why, consider whether it could be a response to something going on with the company you’re keeping at that moment. Likewise, take care to check your own emotions when you notice your mood plummeting so that you don’t spread your negativity to others. With practice and awareness, you can improve the situation for everyone.