It just takes one rotten one to ruin the cluster.
We’ve all accomplished the impacts of this firsthand.
One disappointed collaborator sours the mind-set of the whole group.
An irritable relative saps the positive vitality from an excursion.
An irate driver cuts you off in rush hour gridlock, in a split second putting a damper on your morning.
Emotional contagion is the properly vile term for this mental marvel. It portrays the way that states of mind exchange between individuals over a brief timeframe. (Numerous examinations have shown this in various settings.)
This can be awesome when you encircle yourself with glad individuals. As one investigation in the British Medical Journal outlines, when your companions are upbeat, you’re bound to be glad as well.
On the other side of things, Emotional Contagion is a main motivation behind why it’s so difficult to manage antagonism throughout everyday life. Individuals who express pessimism can resemble enthusiastic dark openings. Everybody who interacts with them endures the outcomes.
So as to limit the effect of antagonism in your life, think about two situations:
Keeping away from “disease” when others convey antagonism to you.
Not spreading pessimism to others when you wind up feeling negative.
Exploring these situations well relies upon your capacity to be aware of your musings and activities.
The following are six methodologies I’ve executed with achievement in my very own life.
Dealing With Negativity in Others
You’ll find angry, grumpy, and frustrated people wherever you go. It could be co-workers, your mom, or a complete stranger.
No matter how these folks treat you, remember that you’re always in control of how you react.
If your goal is to spread peace and positivity in the world, make the following choices when negativity crosses your path.
1. Don’t Take it Personally
You never know what someone else is going through in life.
Give others the benefit of the doubt by “assuming the worst”. Maybe their dog is sick, or their girlfriend broke up with them, or a family member is in the hospital.
Their negative actions probably have nothing to do with you, they’re just expressing their negativity, and you happen to be there to receive it. Psychologist David J. Pollay describes this well with his “Law of the Garbage Truck”, which he learned from an NYC cab driver.
“Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you. So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me. You’ll be happier.”
2. Stay Patient to Create Space
Negativity short-circuits your system and provokes thoughtless reactions.
Don’t give in to impatient urges. Instead, breath deeply, and create space to act with intention.
For example, when responding to an angry email or note, don’t respond right away. Give it some time to digest by waiting until the following day. Approaching the email with a clear-headed perspective will prevent a regrettably reactionary response.
3. Be Peaceful and Smile
Emotional Contagion applies to both positive and negative emotions. Don’t forget that your interactions are an opportunity to bring others up.
It doesn’t need to be an extravagant effort to make them happy. Simply being peace by sharing your smile is enough. (This is one reason why self-care is so important. It helps you be your best self each day, so you can bring positivity to others.)
Dealing With Your own Negativity
Even the most positive people wake up on the wrong side of the bed from time to time.
In these situations, self-awareness is the first step to prevent spreading negativity to others. Without awareness of your negative mental state, you’ll be trapped as a victim of its reactive ways.
But the instant you become aware that you’re experiencing negative emotions, you’re back in control. Awareness gives you the opportunity to act with intention.
When you feel anger or frustration flare up, take a few steps to proceed mindfully.
1. Remember, you are not Your Emotions
Instead of getting swept away by negative emotions, observe your emotional experience with curiosity.
Take a moment to observe the physical sensations of these emotions in your body.
- Where do you feel the sensations most strongly?
- What are the qualities of these sensations? (e.g. Tension, movement, heat, …)
- How are the sensations changing over time?
- Notice when new sensations come into focus, and existing sensations go away.
Focusing on the physical sensations of your negative emotions helps you observe them objectively.
After all, you are not your anger or frustration. You just happen to be experiencing those emotions.
2. Accept That These Emotions are Temporary
This is true of all emotions, thoughts, and feelings.
You only need to observe your emotions or thoughts for a short period of time to understand their temporary nature.
Like clouds (or cats) passing over the blue sky, this too shall pass.\
3. Choose to Smile
By smiling, you remind yourself that you have the power to control your reactions. When you live with greater self-awareness, it’s clear that how you act is always a choice.
Even if smiling feels inauthentic, give it a try. A study published in Psychological Science showed that the physical act of smiling during stressful activities led to reduced heart rates in participants.
“Smiling means that we are ourselves, that we have sovereignty over ourselves, that we are not drowned into forgetfulness.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peac