Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at our mood and the effects that the environment and people can have on us. Last week we looked at the good ways the emotional contagion effect can have on us and how we can even create your virtual environment and positive experiences. Now we are going to look at emotionally contagious connections that occur in a negative direction and how to find ways to stop them from having a negative impact on you. Being around negative emotions people or environments can be adding significant stress and strain in your life, plus if we have had them a long time, they can have also become a constant negative drip feed into our mood. This is particularly true when negative emotional contagion creeps into your close relationships. Because marriages, partnerships, family connections, and even close friendships are largely based on emotions. All of those negative emotions such as sadness, fear or worry on the part of that other person in your life where it is your partner, best friend, close work college or boss and even your children can have a profound and lasting impact on your overall mood and outlook on life.
Research has found that depression in your partner or roommate can frequently lead to depression in yourself. This can also hold true for children raised by depressed parents research has shown that you are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with depression. In fact, one family members depression can bring down an entire family system. Other emotions, such as anxiety and fear, can have the same effect. This is what I call a genetic emotion something we have inherited from either the people we live with or the environment we have been exposed to. Always remember this is not like a genetic heart condition that needs serious surgical intervention or preventative care to stay alive, this is an emotional habit that isn’t yours and you can let this go. For at least half of the people that come to see me probably even more if we took the time to explore things into the foundations of who we are being impacted by genetic emotions. Don’t be afraid of them this will only make it worse, start seeing them as something that isn’t yours like a rucksack you have been carrying and now it’s time to take it off. If we look at the metaphor of a house, we can transform a house new wiring, plumbing, kitchen etc and look very different but if we don’t deal with the foundations our house may not feel stay or last long, this is just like us still standing on these old habits. We may look very different on the outside but in fact because of the old foundations we can still feel the same on the inside. I know personally from my own childhood and from 26 years of working with people we don’t have to stay this way, but we will need to work on those old foundations to change how we feel.
Now we understand a little more about the emotions from our early life that can be lowering our mood now is time to look at what is happening in the now. If we are being exposed to negative emotions and it might not be those close relationships it could be the boss in the office, the colleagues we work with, the world around us, they can still be having a negative effect on us. If we listen to people without considering what WE FEEL about things it can lead to us feeling those fears anxieties and low mood from the other person or environment. In these times of coming out of lockdown, many of you may have experienced this, even I did on my first venture out to the shops after weeks not going shopping. Everyone is on edge, trolley dancing around each other, jumping at anyone that comes around the corner of the supermarket aisles or people looming to close. We can feel nervous, jumpy, paranoid, anxious plus fearful and for many of us if we were asked that we would feel this way only a few months ago in the supermarket we would have laughed, I know I would have. Of course, the pandemic is very serious and we can’t take the social distancing rules lightly but we can now start to change the dynamic of how we are feeling over this. If we can share a smile, laugh with the other person we were having a trolley dance with, lighten the mood with a bit of humour all those anxious, fearful, paranoid feeling can start to just melt away. Our jobs now as the country who want to beat this pandemic is now to not only look at the psychical safety issues but also to look at our mental health and spread the positive contagious feelings around us wherever we can.
This example for many of us can serve as a strong reminder to us how our environment can have a significant impact on the emotional state regardless of whether those emotions are internally produced or externally generated by a negative influence of the collective experience. But also, for many of you that haven’t had social anxiety, you can have a window into the world of people that have. Sadly, for some people, pandemic or not, they can be feeling this way in many situations, but now it’s time we all work together for positive change. Everyone can have an impact on us, but collective negative environments, our close relationships and even our boss can hold a much stronger influence on us. Making it much easier for a emotional contagion to take hold and negativity spread through us and the environment as a whole.
One of the most powerful things that can allow us to start changing from these negative influences is knowledge. As you continue to learn and understand yourself better making positive changes will become easier. If we rip those labels off which can make us, feel we have to be this way and choose to take charge and take steps to change how we feel, this is the key. We will continue over the next few weeks to work on this more, helping you find the knowledge, strength and techniques you need to be your own person, owning your feelings and thoughts in a strong secure way.
Thanks for dropping by Sara x