Can your emotions be infected?
Absolutely. First, consider the media. Imagine it as a pig with open sores, its lips flushed with warm salty blood, its teeth worming with brains, its tongue staining the crisp air with the brown pocked sewage of its breath. That image is almost as unpleasant as the true story about a cannibalistic attack:
Why do these horror stories get press? Advertising revenues are the main reason. But the media’s obsession with the Zombie Apocalypse also epitomizes mindless emotional contagion. What is a Hollywood zombie after all? A stupid being that thrives on contaminating others with its stupidity.
Since fantasy and fiction are based in reality, it’s not surprising that emotional contagion is real. (There is also a real life zombie fungus that controls the minds of ants.) Mimicry is the foundation of emotional movement between people. Humans are hard wired to imitate others, but we don’t have to be held captive or allow others to control our feelings.
Don’t let the media’s emotional terrorism paralyze you. Learn to kill the germs that spread emotional contagion.
Here are three ways to disinfect your emotions:
- Be aware of your emotional state, especially as it relates to your surrounds. Pay attention to your emotions and the identify the emotional states of other people. When around other persons, ask yourself, “Is my mood changing?” When you discover that it is changing. Ask the next question “Am I mirroring someone else?” Just asking these questions will prevent the lower brain from taking over. By asking the questions, you give yourself a choice about how you will feel.
- What if you discover that you are gravitating towards someone else’s state? First, recognize that you have a choice. Simply identifying the shift will keep you in control. To stay in control do the following: Physically or psychologically separate yourself from the influence. If separating yourself from the other person is not feasible, ask yourself the following question, “How can I put a positive spin on what I’m hearing?” You might also want to have a list of thoughts, memories, or goals that instantly shift your mood. When you ask yourself a question your brain will go to work and finding an answer. So have some questions ready. They should be OPEN ENDED, such as “What can I do right now to feel happy?” Or “What’s the funniest joke I’ve ever heard?”
- Realize that all human to human interactions are just a GAME. No one can control how you feel. You are in control. Other people will try to use guilt, fear, shame, and other emotional triggers to manipulate your behavior, but YOU DON’T have to let them control you. YOU ARE THE SOURCE OF ALL YOUR EMOTIONS. As long as you’re mindful, emotional zombies cannot infect you.