Emotions are contagious
I can remember going through some of the toughest issues in my life when I was around 15. I think we all went through some sort of awkward stage and experienced growth in our physical bodies and our social “selves” that made our early teens difficult. But something happened at that time that changed how I interacted with people for the rest of my life. It’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten…
One afternoon I was walking down the hallway at school to catch the bus and head home. I had a lot on my mind between my own insecurities, the problems I had going on in my family, and being at a new school for the third time in two years. I’d fallen into what I felt was a funk—a sort of depression.
Up until then I’d always felt so much positive energy around me as people were always laughing, smiling, and having a good time around me. But things had seemed to change for me. Now I didn’t see smiles on the faces of the people around me and, being young, I started to think it was something about me.
So what happened as I was walking down the hallway?
What happened was brilliantly simple, but universally powerful. Someone I’d never met walked by me and gave me a gigantic smile that was so full of joy and life that it instantly made me smile. The stranger’s smile lifted my spirits—it was contagious. I gave a big smile to a girl that walked by me, and my smile lit up her face. I ran to catch the bus, smiling all the way and getting smiles and positive conversations in return.
I’ve always remembered how my entire perspective changed the moment that friendly stranger smiled at me. It reminded me that the world is more than what happens to you. Emotions are contagious. You can have a HUGE impact on everything around you, so it’s your choice to spread what you want to have around you.
Several studies have been done on how emotions and moods can transfer from person to person. What’s amazing is that emotions or moods will most often transfer from the person who is somehow more intense or forceful with their feelings to the person who’s more passive. And the closer the two people are to each other, then the quicker the transfer process is and the more similar their moods will become.
Here’s a few common ways that you can use contagious emotions and improve situations with men.
- Stay calm and controlled with a content feeling if you’re talking about important or intense issues with a man. If you can find a way to relax and be assertive, then the man will open up more and feel the same.
- If you’re out with a man and something embarrassing or irritating happens, find a way to laugh at it—find the humor in the situation.
- Ask a man to tell you a funny or gross story to make him feel that he’s creating a fun and positive emotional context.
- If a man says something hurtful to you, don’t lash back at him. Instead, give yourself some space from him and let him know that you won’t go there with him. If you stay calm and positive, the man will realize that he’s been an idiot and a jerk.