Emotions are a funny thing. They’re highly contagious entities that can truly make or break the success or enjoyment of each day. Your brain is in constant observation mode, taking in information and creating the reactions that lead to ongoing communications with the people around you. Negative emotions are one of the largest predators of effective communication. While it’s natural to mirror the emotions or attitudes of those around you, it takes a conscious effort and awareness to avoid letting them drag you down.
Do you have one of those friends or siblings that (bless his/her heart) is just the biggest bag ’o downers you know?You’re not alone. They manage to catch you at the wrong time, place or mood. You know they’re gonna ramble on and on about all the terrible things happening in their lives, though they’ll never do anything to change them. Even if you’d previously been having an ace of a day, you finish that conversation and feel… SICK. That’s Emotional Contagion.
What about the folks that are consistently accusatory, paranoid or downright mean? That stuff tends to wear off on those in close proximity. Much as viruses travel swiftly and without control, toxic emotions (and the people that bring them) have the ability to pass along their negativity. Interactions with these folks leave us with the emotions they experience, whether exhausted, angry, depressed or frustrated. Once focus is compromised, so is the communication or negotiation at hand.
The good news is that by becoming more aware of the emotional contagions around you, you can control your own reactions and limit the negative stimuli. Relying on direct, concise statements and unwavering decisions will keep your messages on track, regardless of the toxins that make you sick.