Beloved Flower Lover,
It’s Bank Holiday Monday and we had the most incredible weekend. Talking to friends in France and celebrating birthdays and the passing of GCSE’s. On reflection we said, have you ever noticed that you feel happy around happy people and sad around sad or depressed people, or even agitated around anxious people?
Well, you might have guessed by now that we love the way research keeps on reinforcing the benefits of love, warmth, compassion and happiness and how sharing it with others helps you and others. Ok, we were looking at some research this bright morning, which shows that if you spend enough time with people, their emotions will actually rub off on you.
Ok, we experience that all the time. We notice when people smile, others smile and when we smile at ourselves when we are creating designs in our minds eye that when we smile back at images of ourselves in our own inner mind, we also feel great and exicting and new!
Ok, lets look more at this research about how we become positively influenced by others around us. Ok, Life gets better with age, life is celebrated, life is just peaceful and…..delicious. Ok, this seems fake initially but the wisdom of these words comes from the research.
The MNS is a bit like a high-definition camera that observes and records every detail of people’s facial expressions, body language, pupil movements and even vocal tones. So if you’re hanging out with someone who is happy, and their happiness is written all over their face, so to speak, your MNS will record their displays of happiness but it will also signal the same displays in you.
Let’s keep talking here. For instance, we know that happy people tend to smile a lot. In their presence, your MNS will record activity in the two major smile muscles: the ones that pull your lips upwards (zygomaticus major) and the ones that crease the sides of your eyes (orbicularis oculi). They will then signal your own smile muscles so that you will find yourself smiling more. But that’s not all that happens.
The MNS also contains emotional areas of the brain. Some of these are signaled, too, helping to mirror, in you, the emotional state of the happy person. We all know that when we get flowers or give flowers we really get these inner muscles working. If you want to be happier, you wouldn’t go far wrong by hanging out with happy people and giving flowers.
Depression is just as contagious as happiness. Should we then avoid people who are depressed? We don’t think so. We should help people who are depressed. Anyone who has ever been depressed, and we can testify to that in our team as being past members of that club, wants to feel loved and cared for, not avoided like they have the plague. So give more flowers. Give ,give, give flowers.
Our personal experience is that there is little risk of “catching” depression if you are compassionate to their feelings and are aware of emotional contagion. The compassion allows you to sense how the person feels, to empathize and appreciate their pain, so that they feel listened to. Then, after a while, you can try to “infect” them with your positive mood. So give flowers, give flowers, give flowers, to remind them that they are loved, even by the invisible.
No need to be fake . You don’t need to try to feel positive. Just recognize that your body language and facial expressions reflect mood, so use these as tools to raise the mood of both of you. Lift your shoulders back, breathe deeply and easily and smile if you can. Do yourself a favour and give yourself a chance. Give yourself flowers and smile at yourself. Your MNS will be able to mirror you and, at least a little, move them closer to your emotional state, offering relief from the pain they feel.
Emotional contagion has been with the human species for a very long time. From day one really. It helped our ancestors understand each other in a time before language, where they could recognize fear, for instance, by having the same feelings induced in them, thus helping them survive potential danger. So imagine giving flowers and allow that good feeling to spread.
The ability to infect each other is present in us from birth. One crying infant will set off a wave of crying in a hospital ward.Studies also show that infants and children mirror the facial expressions of the primary caregiver, suggesting that they feel the same emotions, too, or at least their nervous system is reacting to the emotions of the caregiver.
So the answer to the question, “Are your emotions contagious?” is almost certainly yes. Spend time with happy people if you want to feel happier, and help to raise the spirits of people who feel sad. And if you do feel happy, spread some good cheer around you. Give flowers, focus on the real truth of life, like peace, unity, joy and happiness and notice how life changes.
That’s how we see how we can apply this new knowledge.
For general information on mirror neurons, see: M. Iacobani, ‘Mirroring People,’ Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, 2008
For general information on emotional contagion, see: E. Hatfield, J. T. Cacioppo, and R. L. Rapson, ‘Emotional Contagion,’ Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994
For more info on emotional contagion and the relative contagiousness of happiness and depression, see David R. Hamilton PhD, ‘The Contagious Power of Thinking,’ Hay House, London, 2011
For more information on the 11 laws for Peace and Happiness, see Ra Un Nefer Amen at Taui Enterprises.