Even if you’re not aware of it, it’s likely that your emotions will influence someone around you today.

This can happen during our most basic exchanges, say on your commute to work. “If someone smiles at you, you smile back at them,” says sociologist Nicholas Christakis of Yale University. “That’s a very fleeting contagion of emotion from one person to another.”

But it doesn’t stop there. Emotions can spread through social networks almost like the flu or a cold. And the extent to which emotions can cascade is eye-opening.

For instance, Christakis’ research has shown that if you start to become happier with your life, a friend living close by has a 25 percent higher chance of becoming happy too. And your partner is more likely to feel better as well. The happiness can even spread to people to whom you’re indirectly connected.

To document this, Christakis and his colleagues mapped out the face-to-face interactions of about 5,000 people living in one town over the course of 32 years. Their emotional ups and downs were documented with periodic surveys. “We were able to show that as one person became happy or sad, it rippled through the network,” Christakis says.

It’s not just happiness that spreads. Unhappiness and anger can be contagious too.

Continue reading this article: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/02/25/697052006/anger-can-be-contagious-heres-how-to-stop-the-spread

This article submitted by MSRN Member: Pat France