Being around certain people can have a huge impact on our emotions. A happy person can make others feel happy and a sad person can make others sad. Emotions can be contagious and in psychology, it is termed as ‘emotional contagion’.
People can easily be affected by other people’s emotions, which can be a contributor to our state of health and wellbeing. For instance, people at work who are in a negative emotional space can cause others to feel the same. This can lead to others feeling stressed, which can cause physical illnesses particularly if the negativity is persistent.
Unfortunately, anxiety and depression can be caused by people in the workplace, which can impact their health and enjoyment of life. However, emotions are a natural part of being human and it can be difficult for someone to not show how they feel.
Therefore, it may help for workplaces to raise awareness of emotional contagion and implement strategies to support people’s emotional wellbeing. This could include encouraging people to go outside and get some fresh air and gentle exercise. Workplaces could also provide relaxation therapy sessions including massage or stretching and breathing exercises. Another strategy is for leaders and bosses to take extra care in the way they communicate with their employees as they can have the greatest impact on a work environment.
As noted by Brandon Smith in the TedTalk below, work should be a “source of purpose and fulfilment for all of us, not a source of pain, anxiety, and depression”.