Why Emotional Contagions Are Ridiculously Important To Learn About
You may not realize just how impacted you are by the people - and places - around you. "Places?" you may be asking. Yes! When we were kids, my father would often tell my sister and I, "Your environment is a mirror of your mind..." which was incredibly frustrating to hear. "What does that have to do with anything?" I thought. But there was some truth to it. In actuality, I wasn't known for keeping a tidy room growing up, and also, was somewhat notorious for being scatter brained... Are these things connected? Possibly! A recent study showed that a good environment will affect your well being and influence your decisions.
Similarly, the people you surround yourself with can greatly influence your mood, and those affects may last for hours, if not days. Dr Sigal Barsade, who has done studies on the affects of emotional contagions in the work place, says, "My research reveals that emotions, both positive and negative, actually spread among your employees like viruses." That means that when your co-worker is having a bad day, it can easily transfer to you.
What we don't realize is just how pervasive the affect of emotional contagions really is. Recent studies have shown that you don't have to even talk to or be in the same room with a person to catch their mood. A huge study conducted with the help of Facebook showed that we are constantly transferring our moods, good and bad, through social media, as well.
Now isn't that groundbreaking? Doesn't this stop you in your tracks? It does for me. So many people shrug this off, like, well yeah, if someone's in a bad mood, it'll affect me. But you're not listening. You don't even have to be in the same room as that person. You can be affected by the neighbor down the street. Another huge study done a few years ago showed how our emotions are shared and spread out, almost like a virus, to secondary and tertiary people - people you've never come into contact with. If you're having a particularly bad day, say you got into a car wreck or something similarly upsetting, the janitor who works in your office building may be feeling the affects of that without having ever come into contact with you.
And what exactly are we to do about the spread of emotions like a virus? How are we to protect ourselves? Because despite feeling very sorry about your wreck, I don't necessarily want to feel the same things you're feeling about it. Let me be clear, I won't even necessarily recognize that I am sad as a result of your wreck. If I haven't come into contact with you, don't know you, and haven't gotten the memo about your car wreck; I won't have any idea where the sad emotion is coming from.
Watch this next part because here is where the magic really happens.
If I don't know why I'm feeling this way, I'll plug in my own reasons for the emotion I'm experiencing. I may revisit old hurts, frustrations, or make a larger deal out of the thing my spouse said before I left for work when really: THE EMOTION I AM FEELING HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THOSE THINGS. It's something I caught, from YOU.
But, as humans, we are all too quick to associate the feelings we are feeling with the circumstances we are experiencing. "I feel sad, maybe I hate my job?" we think. We'll try to rationalize it, rather than recognize it for what it is: just energy!
Ah ha! You knew I'd find a way to make this weird. Yes, friends, energy. Energy is in everything, all of us. It's vibration and electricity and sunshine and potatoes and dog drool. It's in communication, both verbal (speaking creates sound, which is vibration), and nonverbal, (sight comes from the interaction of light with our eyes and light is energy as well), not to mention all of the chemistry at work in our brains, nervous systems, hormones, and etc. which are all sending messages too...
There is a tone and an implication in energy. We can tell the difference between a sad song and a happy song, we can tell the difference between a sad face and a happy face. We can enter a room in which there was just a fight and feel the tension in the air... We're actually pretty good at recognizing energy and understanding it! Go us!
Yes, these things are implicit signals that hit specific parts of our brain, which in turn initiate associated thoughts, actions and feelings in us. Our brains are like computers attempting to make sense and organize all of this information as it comes in through our senses. We are built to mimic the facial expressions and moods of those around us. It's just part of how our biology evolved to help us to survive, but those tendencies mean we are tied to everyone close to us emotionally, around us physically, or connected to us via someone else or through networks like social media or other tech.
Why is this such a big deal? Because it could TOTALLY CHANGE THE WAY WE LOOK AT DEPRESSION, not to mention just the way we live, or how we think about our lives, who we are and other such items of import. What if people who are chronically depressed aren't actually depressed but actually just incredibly sensitive and susceptible to emotional contagions? Wouldn't that change how we would look at that? And how we treated it?
In a recent study, they found that disassociation is a powerful way to protect yourself from emotional contagions, aka, being objective. Now, if you're a particularly empathic, sensitive or compassionate person; you're not going to be objective when someone comes to you with a problem. You're going to keep yourself, for lack of a better word, 'open', to their emotions. It's just what you would do, which explains why social workers, doctors, nurses, and other caring professionals often experience burn out. That, and they just have very, very difficult jobs.
Here at Miylana, we work to teach people about energy. We speak openly about ways to protect ourselves from others' emotions and thoughts. We recognize that people are clued in, much more than even they realize, to the feelings and thoughts of others. But we are one of the very few companies working to help people recognize and change how they are interacting with energetic communication and emotional contagions. It is so important, in this overstimulating, ever-connected world, to learn how to do this because the amount of energy and emotional signals we are receiving has increased drastically (unless you live in a cave, that is) and people are actually going or feeling crazy because of it. Are you one of those people?
If you said yes then GOOD! EXCELLENT! YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY?
Because you made to the end of the article and that's cool. And now to thank you - and this is exciting - we are offering you free access to one of our classes on energy! The class is the Level 1 of our Energy Mastery course, available through learnitlive.com. In the class, you'll learn how to identify if an emotion you are experiencing is actually yours. You'll also learn how to protect yourself better from others' emotions, and how to release other people's energy and emotions if you get infected. It's a very low key class, nothing fancy and stress free (no tests) just some great information and exercises.
And it'll only be free til June 1st. So go take a look. It's super duper life changing and important.
MIYLANA'S CLASS ON ENERGY MASTERY LEVEL 1 - FOR FREE - TIL JUNE 1ST.
Click here to be sent an access code!
Christine works at Miylana llc as the editor of the blog, marketing and social media director and assistant to Janice Corsano. She has her own side business www.oldsoulholistic.com, and her own tour company doing haunted tours of Connecticut. To learn more, you can email her or tweet at her @grlndamoon.