Science journalist Daniel Goldman said, “Like secondhand smoke, the leakage of emotions can make a bystander an innocent casualty of someone else’s toxic state.”
When a boss walks into a room in a bad mood, how that translates to all the employees around the table. Or a teacher to students. Or a parent to kids.
The good news is that the same can be said about positive emotions. Shawn Achor said in The Happiness Advantage, “Positive emotional contagion starts when people subconsciously mimic the body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions of those around them. Amazing as it might sound, once people mimic the physical behaviours tied to these emotions, it causes them to feel the emotion themselves. Smiling, for instance, tricks your brain into thinking you’re happy, so it starts producing the neurochemicals that actually make you happy.”
Try it. Smile right now. Feel better? Now smile at someone you pass today on the way to work or in the school yard or at the coffee shop. Now you are positively contagious because they will smile back and those good feelings will have spread to others.
Training our brains to see the bright side is not only helpful for our own health and happiness, but it directly affects those around us. We can be the person who is responsible for making someone else’s day.
Let’s see how many people we can infect with our smile.