An international yoga instructor writes a healthy living blog with an emphasis on yoga.

Smile, It's Contagious


It really is, though. 

Every now and then I find myself caught up in the emotional side of things I don't normally care about when I'm with a certain group of people. Case in point- Superbowl Sunday. I don't understand football and I never watch or follow any teams. Regardless, nearly every Superbowl Sunday, I will inevitably wind up watching it with friends, and catch their excitement. I'll even find myself feelind disappointed if "my" team (the team the others I'm with care about) doesn't win. Isn't that weird?! 

Apparently, it isn't all that weird. It's emotional contagion- the tendency to catch feelings or emotions that are similar to the feelings or emotions of others close to you. 

We even have certain phrases in our language that indicate we recognize emotional contagion and the fact that we can be influenced by how others feel: "toxic people", "class clown", and "debbie downer" to name a few off the top of my head (click here to watch the hilarious SNL Debbie Downer skit.)

With emotional contagion we adopt emotions from other people. To take it a step further, it appears we can "catch" emotions from ourselves. Take smiling for example. When you're in a bad mood, simply smiling an inauthentic smile can help to turn your mood around. Essentially, you can "catch" a good mood from yourself if you display the physical signs of being happy- smiling, laughter, etc. Incidentally, that's why laughter yoga has become so popular- the health benefits of laughing (and smiling) are huge and your body can't tell the difference between a fake laugh or an authentic laugh. (And eventually, in a laughter yoga class, the hilarity of fake laughter will induce authentic laughter.)

So, work on your health by simply smiling more and being around positive people. You'll reap the benefits and the people around you will "catch" your smile. And that's something worth spreading.