This is known as ‘emotional contagion’ and is facilitated by an interconnected network of cells in the brain that make up the Mirror Neuron System (MNS). This system records every detail of people around us. For instance, if you are hanging out with someone who is happy, your MNS will record their displays of happiness and initiate the same displays in you.
The contagious nature of emotions can become amplified when individuals are in frequent contact with one another. In one study, marriage researchers Lisa A. Neff of the University of Texas at Austin and Benjamin R. Karney of the University of California, Los Angeles, examined more than 150 couples for three years to determine how one spouse’s stress influences the other spouse and overall marital quality. They found husbands experienced lower marital satisfaction when their wives reported higher stress.
Choose your company wisely
Just being around positive people can be energizing, motivating, and inspiring and is likely to help you work more effectively as partners or as a group.
Trace the emotion to its original source
In case you are feeling sad, ask yourself, ‘Am I feeling sad naturally or because I’ve been around people who are feeling sad?’. Recognizing whom the emotion rightfully belongs to can help short-circuit its transmission
Make positive self talk a habit
When you are surrounded with people who are negative and you cannot help it, make positive self talk a habit. Make a note of your accomplishments. You can start from your school time, the numbers of awards or appreciations you received, the stage shows you had been part of and skills that you learnt. It could be as simple as remembering the day your friend complimented you on your new look. But do it on an every day basis. Practise positive self talk. Keep telling yourself how far you have come and count your blessings.
Try not to make their problem yours
By listening to their problems, one should not take up their issues as their personal issues. Instead should deliver light into they life by giving solutions and not pick up the dark from the other’s life into their own. As Mary Engelbreit, a well known graphic artist and children’s book illustrator puts it, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
Think positive or optimistic
When one is around people who often frown, he or she should have high patience and try to be optimistic in their approach when interacting with them. This will keep you from sulking in life shell.
Change your body language
Since emotions are often caught by mimicking other people’s facial expressions and body language, try to keep a neutral expression on your face when you’re with someone who is tense or angry. Avoid eye contact with such people.
Cut off before it is too late
When you sense that you’re absorbing too much anxiety and it is becoming a part of your personality as well, cut off. Don’t worry about losing friendship or any relationship. Try to have an invisible shield around you so that only positive emotions can come in, but if the negative emotions do not bounce off, it is time you called it off.
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