Are Emotions Contagious?
Do you take on other people's feelings from social media?
Maybe you find yourself irritated, scared or angry after scrolling a few minutes.
Or you got off that intense Zoom meeting and now you're in a state.
That's emotional contagion.
Yep, it's true...our emotions are contagious. It sounds like woo, but it's actually neuroscience.
We're more likely to experience this phenomenon when we can see one another's face, because then we unconsciously mimic expressions and body language which, in turn, activates similar feelings in our own body.
But, a lot of emotion is conveyed through words. So, even when we read an angry or fearful post (or news articles) the brain takes it in. It likely works similarly to our own negative or positive self-talk where we take in the statements and process the accompanying feelings.
So, what can you do to buffer this?
First, be aware that this is a thing.
Second, be mindful of how much time you spend online, especially engaging in emotionally intense posts or content.
Third, if you find yourself "suddenly" irritated or in some challenging frame of mind that you were not in a few moments ago, you probably got slimed. Take a breather and try to reset. Maybe watch a cat video, take a shower, sit in nature.
Fourth, the good news is it works in both directions. So, you can also spread uplifting emotions to help balance things in this intense time period.