Emotional Contagion

Yesterday, while driving North on 131, I saw a billboard that lifted my spirits. It reminded me that emotions are contagious, not just negative emotions, but positive ones too. I cannot remember precisely what the sign said, but the gist was that fear is contagious, and so is joy. During this period of history, where fear appears to be everywhere, it can be beneficial to remember to turn away from fear and back toward joy. Begin to spread happiness throughout your day, because it is just as contagious as some of those negative emotions.

The shortcut to human connection is meeting on the common ground of hating a third person. But that shit is low vibrational and leaves a fart fog of shittiness in the air. And sometimes, people already have so much shittiness going on in their lives, they just can’t take another moment of it. Remember that.
— Karen Kilgariff, Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide


  • Fortify your emotional defenses: In short, take care of yourself. Get ample rest, eat regularly, exercise often, and create a sense of purpose.

  • Shelf It: If you find yourself often being cynical or grumpy, consciously make an effort to put it into a metal box on a shelf that you can revisit later.

  • Get some perspective: Check-in with others to whom you are close. See if you usually have a more down or negative tone to your conversations.

  • Get some positive vibes flowing: Think of ways to positively affect the moods of those in your life. Impromptu Dance party? Playing upbeat songs? Telling a silly joke? The possibilities are endless. See also, the comic above!

  • Impose a TEMPORARY quarantine: If you’re irritability and grumpiness is at an all-time high, consider taking a step back for the night. This does not mean withdrawal socially for a prolonged time; this is a once in a while tactic.

adapted from psychology today article by Carlin Flora

It can be easy to be negative. The human mind is wired for it. For example, if you’re browsing Amazon and reading the reviews, you’re going to cling to the one negative review rather than the 99 positives. The brain does this because, in terms of survival, it keeps us “safe.” So, now, we have to be smarter than our minds. We have to create a balance of negative and positive. This isn’t a one-to-one ratio though, due to our negativity bias researchers have found that it is more like a five-to-one ratio, five positives per one negative. As you go through your day-to-day, try to keep this in mind and try to cultivate more positive experiences. It will help!

Until next time, cultivate and spread some joy


Further Reading:
How Microexpressions can make moods contagious - Liana Simstrom
The Neuroscience of Breaking out of Negative Thinking - Nate Klemp
Protect Yourself from Emotional Contagion - Carlin Flora