Emotions Are Contagious

— Written By eggs with faces

Since we are all living through the realities of a pandemic, we have become very familiar with wearing a mask, waiting six feet apart, and washing our hands often. All of this to avoid people who are or could be infected and to avoid becoming infected ourselves. We know that the word “contagious” means something quickly spreading from one person to another. We know COVID-19 is contagious.

But, did you know that emotions are contagious as well? Have you ever noticed that when someone yawns, you might yawn as well? Do you find yourself smiling when you are around other people that smile a lot?

Well, as it turns out, there is something to this. Apparently, you can “infect” others with your emotions, as well as you can become “infected” by the emotions of others. According to an article in Psychology Today entitled Emotions Are Contagious—Choose Your Company Wisely, we as a species are very vulnerable to “catching” other people’s emotions.

To simplify – you are more likely to feel happy if you hang out with happy people, and you are more likely to feel unhappy, if you hang out with unhappy people. The same is true of your friends hanging out with you.

As the article states: “The moral of the story is that catching the “happy” bug from those around you (and maybe even those “virtually” around you) is a contagion that everyone should try to catch. Just being around positive people can be energizing, motivating, and inspiring and is likely to help you work more effectively as partners or as a group.”

As for the bad side of things, the opposite is true. You can catch the “unhappy” bug from others, as well as give the “unhappy” bug to others. 

So today, I challenge you to ask yourself what kinds of emotions you are “catching” from those around you. Positive? Negative? Happy? Unhappy? If you want to be positive and happy perhaps you need to make a change. Maybe things are fine like they are. Also, ask yourself how you are “infecting” others. Could that be improved? I encourage you to surround yourself – always – with people who will infect you in a positive way.

Psychology Today Article

Catching Feelings

Emotions Are Contagious

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For more information or questions regarding any Currituck County 4-H activities please contact Billy Caudle at (252) 232-2262 or by email at billy_caudle@ncsu.edu.