Emotional Contagion

I have a broad smile on my face. I take a pack of french fries and milkshake and take a seat on the park bench to soak in all of it. In no time, a stranger comes and sits beside me and starts sobbing. Out of concern, I ask him why and we have a conversation about what he was going through. By the time he left, I realized my milkshake had turned warm, and my french fries soggy. But, the only thing I felt was sorrow. My mind was constantly reiterating everything I was just told and analyzing it to its tits and bits. What he felt started feeling like something of my own- a word stuck in my head for a long time, resounded. Emotional contagion.

What Is Emotional Contagion?

Emotional contagion has a negative connotation to it but I’d like to see it in two shades. It is precisely defined as a phenomenon where emotions and behavior in one person influence the same in another. When they talk about ‘vibes’, who knew it was deeper than its superficial meaning? There is so much more to human emotions than meets the eye. 

Have We Met Before?

I have always considered this as empathy and moved on. Especially, when we feel emotional connection with strangers, when you see a baby crying and you automatically feel sad, or when a random person on the streets smiles and greets you, you say Hi- I wondered if it’s just basic decency or empathy. However, emotional contagion is more addictive and infectious. It’s an absolute proof of how everything seems more effectively connected than it seems, how human beings are wired through an invisible thread of emotional prowess, and how our feelings are not just ours. 

Is The World A Better Place Now?

Now that I have one more reason to believe how beautiful this universe is, I might as well do my two bits with regard to it. If a simple smile from our side can brighten up someone else’s day, it makes things so much easier and lighter in the world. Of course, it doesn’t imply that we ought to bar our own feelings because we are afraid of the contagious effect it may have. But, I would like to believe that emotional contagion just puts the emotions we feel in a little better perspective. I hope it does the same for you.

To explore more of my articles on things that we miss out talking on, have a look here!

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  • It's a Readlief! says:

    Wow. I’ve never heard of emotional contagion before. This is a very informative post – like you I’ve always chucked “those feelings” as empathy before. Thank you for teaching me something new today!

  • Krittika says:

    What an interesting read!
    And as always, very well written. 🙂

  • Jatin says:

    Thank you for talking about this! ♥️

  • Siddhant Das says:

    Thank you for giving words to my feelings. This is a beautiful post. <3

  • Teresa says:

    Such an interesting subject! I noticed quite young how people around me affected my mood, but I didn’t quite understand just how much until I moved to a country where negativity and hostility are a strong part of the culture. When all you see around are people looking grumpy af, never a smile, no regard for anyone else, and not a kind word in their vocabulary it does pull your mood down quickly too. That’s why it’s so important to surround you with people who make you feel good and who support you.

    Teresa Maria | Outlandish Blog

  • Becca @ The London Lifestyle says:

    Interesting – I never knew this had a name and hadn’t heard of emotional contagion before! But have definitely experienced it. Thank you for sharing, Becca x

  • Hannah Louise says:

    Such an interesting post, I knew this was a thing but i didn’t realise it had a proper name and everything so thank you for sharing!

  • Param Arora says:

    Understanding emotions! Good one.

  • Lisa says:

    Have you ever yawned while looking at someone? They’ll almost certainly yawn back – it’s an instinctive reaction – emotional contagion at it’s simplest! Lisa

  • Linz says:

    Good post and quite thought provoking. I knew it was a thing but didn’t know it had a name, now I know! I always say hello to strangers in the street because it might just be a difference between them feeling better and not having a good day! Thanks for sharing!

  • Judy Alter says:

    Good post

  • Jaya Avendel says:

    The ripple effect . . . I think laughter is the best example of this; when one person laughs and their joy can be felt, the whole room laughs. The more happiness we radiate out into the world, the more it catches on. 🙂

  • Clarissa Cabbage says:

    Great insight. Thanks for this!

  • Jen says:

    I definitely agree with this! I know tons of people who rub off on me whether I like it or not. Thanks for sharing!

  • Unwanted Life says:

    As they say, laughter is contagious, and so are yawns, so it’s easy to see how our moods affects others

    Unwanted Life

  • Moheb Wessa says:

    Very helpful and honest post. Thanks for sharing it

  • Anita says:

    Nice post. Didn’t even know there was a thing called emotional contagion.

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