The Emotional Contagion

- Ayushi Chamaria

Trying to fit into an unfamiliar place with new people can be daunting. Especially if that place is thousands of miles away from home. When I started college, I didn’t know how to work a washing machine, load a dishwasher, or navigate an unknown city. But most importantly, I didn’t know how to make new friends. I could always learn the chores, but building brand new connections was terra incognita. 

With that anxiety festering in my mind, I scampered my way to a colossal lecture hall with 500 seats. While looking for a seat in a corner, I spotted a familiar face. I had met this girl in an ice-breaker earlier that week, and exchanged brief niceties with her. She gave me an encouraging smile and gestured towards the seat next to hers. I breathed a sigh of relief and went and joined her.

That girl went on to become my best friend and confidante through four years of college and recently even asked me to be the maid of honor at her wedding. As the famous poem goes “you smile at one, he smiles at you, and so one smile makes two.” Happiness is contagious. Unfortunately, the same is true for negative emotions too. 

So how can we best handle the infectiousness of emotions?

Do things that bring you happiness –

To “catch” positive emotions, we must exude positivity ourselves. Doing activities that make us happy can make our days brighter. Especially after a long day at work, unwinding with something we love to do can be a stress buster. The internet has presented us with a gamut of online classes. Whether it is pottery, gardening, dancing, art, or book clubs, we now have a plethora of resources that we can try our hands at to discover our calling. These activities are also great platforms to find like-minded people who feel enthusiastic and passionate about the same things.

Meditate –

Oftentimes we say things on impulse that we don’t mean. “I never want to see your face again,” “I hate you,” “don’t annoy me.” We may not realize the hurt or anxiety we can cause our loved ones due to our outbursts caused by anger or anxiety. A distressed mind is one that is particularly susceptible to harmful thoughts and emotions. The brain is like a warehouse that stores all kinds of information throughout the day. 

Meditation is a tool that can help us declutter by helping us compartmentalize and organize our thoughts. It teaches us the mindfulness and patience required to control our need to expel pessimism.

Distance yourself from negativity on the internet – 

The internet is as much of a bane as it is a boon. The anonymity and facelessness of social media has given birth to trolling where resentment towards individuals or groups is quite rampant. Since we spend so much time online, it is very easy to fall prey to negativity on the web. The dialogues on the internet are sometimes designed to irk or provoke the masses. One must have the objectivity to distinguish between healthy debate and spewing of hate. 

Look out for positive news –

Tuning into the news can be quite frightening nowadays due to the disarray the Covid-19 pandemic has caused. The onslaught of bad news can be very stress inducing. In these dark times, it is important to take a few minutes to uplift ourselves by actively seeking positivity.

The Jurni, Good News Network, Some Good News, The Good News Show are a few initiatives that highlight heartwarming stories of good deeds while sharing positive updates of the world.


It is very important to remind ourselves and our loved ones that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Let us take care of one another, ask our loved ones how they’re holding up, spend some quality time with our grandparents, even if it’s through a phone call. We can be the change we want to see in the world. Remember, happiness is infectious.