Our emotional states are contagious. How you feel in any given moment leaks out into the atmosphere and infects other people. So to speak. We have cells in our bodies called mirror neurons. They allow us to tap into the feelings, thoughts and intentions of others just by observing them. They are responsible for what neuroscientists and sociologists call ‘emotional contagion’. Emotional Contagion is basically where you ‘catch the mood’ of another person.
If you’ve ever walked into a room after an argument, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Even if you did not hear the exchange, as soon as you enter the room you know something is up. You can literally ‘cut the air with a knife’. And if you hang around too long, chances are your mood will drop as a result.
At work, we typically find that the leader sets the emotional tone for the rest of the team. Leaders become emotional mood makers and mood takers. They can ‘make’ a good mood and ‘take’ a good mood simply by getting up on the right or wrong side of the bed!
So look around you at work or at home and notice who you are affecting (or infecting) with your moods.
- How can you make use of emotional contagion to lift the mood of those around you?
- How often do you make a good mood or take a good mood? What needs to change?
- How can you teach others about the impact of their emotional wake on you?