Emotional Exposure

Emotional Viruses And How To Avoid Them

 Have you ever noticed that moods seem to be contagious? If someone keeps their head, even in a stressful situation, it’s more likely that others will remain calm. However, panic and fear can easily be just as infectious in a group. This has become particularly apparent during the past few years. Things have been hard, with the world becoming more uncertain and the stresses of the pandemic being ever-present. As a result, it’s become more obvious than ever that moods and attitudes can impact those around us.

Understanding The Emotional Virus And How To Manage It

Experts in emotional intelligence were the first to discuss the risks of ’emotional viruses.’ Rather than being a literal virus or pathogen, an emotional virus indicates the passage of a mood from one individual to others. Thankfully, they have also provided information on how to manage this “virus” and help limit the damage it can do. We all know that panic, fear, and anger have a way of spreading among groups. Learning how to manage this in our homes, places of employment, and school is important for all involved.

Studies have shown that individuals tend to have limited awareness of emotional contagion. There’s a general belief that the attitudes of those around us unalter our emotions and attitude. However, it has been discovered that people tend to mimic the behaviors, tone of voice, and body language of those around them. This is a part of our make-up that has been present since we were born. This mechanic is how we learn social cues, how to engage in a group, and what it means to be an adult.

Unfortunately, this also means that the attitudes and moods of others can be transmitted to us subconsciously. Emotions tend to spread more easily in cases where there is a legitimate reason for them. Consider the feeling of stress and fear present during the pandemic. The fear of getting sick, or those we love falling ill, is very real and present. As a result, if we are exposed to others who indulge in this fear, then we ourselves will be more likely to do so ourselves. 

However, the emotional virus also transmits positive emotions. We can spread a sense of calm and confidence by maintaining these attitudes in ourselves. One remarkable part of the emotional virus is that it can transmit through multiple mediums. It’s easiest to do in person but can also occur over the phone. Even the written word can transmit emotions and serve to uplift us or lead us into fear and anxiety.

Your Mental Health Provider Can Help With Emotional Viruses

If you struggle with contracting negative emotional viruses, speak to your medical provider. They can provide methods for you to protect yourself and manage social situations where they are present. We cannot force others to change their attitudes, but we can learn how to manage ours. By doing so, we may be able to help others feel calmer and more positive in stressful situations.

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Helene A. Miller / And Other Providers
Family Psychiatry and Therapy brings compassion, understanding, and skilled care to patients throughout New Jersey. Our team of mental health professionals focuses on providing a positive and uplifting experience that aids our patients in facing life’s toughest challenges.