While I consider my vocabulary (especially my feel goodery vocab) pretty extensive, this was a new one for me.
I ran across it in a blog post from Marie Forleo.
Emotional contagion is the phenomenon that people pick up on and emulate the feelings and emotions of others. It can happen anywhere. Work. Home. Toilet paper aisle. Social media.
It spreads to everyone in your proximity, whether what you are carrying is positive or negative.
And while we are all focused on the physical risks, treatment and prevention of this global pandemic, how much thought have we given to the emotional and mental risks, treatment and prevention?
Fear has a way of metastasizing into anger, sadness, frustration and a variety of other negative emotions.
What if we turned it on its head and spread the love that turns into happiness, generosity, hope and other positives?
How can you protect yourself from the real concerns and negatives and concentrate on what you have control over? You and how you react to all of this?
First, take care of yourself. Get the sleep you need. Fuel your body with good nutrition, adequate hydration, and exercise. You can’t pour from an empty vessel and if you are feeling negative, that’s what you’ll be spreading.
Second, try to understand the why’s of what people say and do. Maybe there’s an underlying fear that expresses itself as anger or negativity. That doesn’t mean it’s your responsibility to fix it. But if understanding means you can have a meaningful conversation or help that person turn their day around, maybe they spread the love instead of the garbage they’ve been carrying around with them.
Part of this may also require that you not take things personally. This is their issue, not yours. Don’t pick up the garbage bag. Let them take it out.
Third, you may need to consider distancing from that person. If you have tried what you feel comfortable trying and they are still spreading the negativity, separate. If they had the flu, you probably wouldn’t spend a lot of time trying to cure it. You’d let it run its course and get together when they are feeling better.
This also goes for social media and other things that you are feeding your brain. Is there somebody or an organization posting or commenting negatively? Snooze, block, unfollow or unfriend. Don’t engage online. It’s too easy to get sucked in and say or do something when you are sitting in front of a keyboard that you would never say or do in person.
And last but certainly not least, be a carrier of love. Spread that stuff like glitter everywhere you go. Smile at the person who stuffed their buggy full of the TP you were hoping to get. Let the person who has two things in the grocery line go in front of you. Call just to say I love you. Check on a neighbor. Read an uplifting book or blog (or better yet share said blog with a friend. 😁) Listen to your favorite song and dance around the living room. Make a healthy dinner with someone you love. Write a handwritten note. Organize a closet and donate what you don’t need to charity.
There are so many ways to make sure that you are a positive emotional contagion (not sure it can be used as a noun but since I only knew about the existence of the term for a few hours I’m giving myself grace.) And if you are reading this, I know what you have a vested interest in being part of the solution and not part of the very real problem.
Share. Share your love. Share what works for you. Share tips and tricks. While we concentrate so much on our physical well-being, please don’t sell your emotional well-being short. We are all depending on it.