I knew I wouldn’t sleep a wink. A Saturday night with three of our grandchildren spending the night. Two wild and crazy six year old boys, Lev and Ryder and 4 year old Eliya who seems to be able to bounce higher than Tigger at the slightest hint of excitement. They decided to take over my bedroom. Sleeping bags, mattresses, blankets, pillows and “stuffies” to help them sleep through the night away from their families filled the floor and beyond.
In order to keep some kind of order, I chose to snuggle into my bed until they fell asleep. Lev was immediately snoozing sweetly while the other two kept having a giggly back and forth between them that continued to get more and more hilarious with each comment or joke or silly suggestion in the dark. I did my best to stay quiet thinking that would eventually quiet them down, but alas, their uproarious giggles got to me and I began hooting myself, not able to control my laughing one single bit. It was contagious.
They thought it was absolutely hysterical that I was joining them in chaotic chuckles which just kept getting more and more out of control as I joined in.Eventually, ahhhhh, we all settled down but during the night I would begin to laugh again to myself at what fun the hilarious uproar was with my sweethearts.
Emotions are contagious. As social animals we are highly influenced by those around us. Whether it is in someone’s facial expressions, body language, tone of voice or language used, we feel the vibe.
Research on team sports, leadership and management and family relations have all linked a strong causal relationship to the emotional energy of those we are in association with. (Christakis and Fowler)
Infectious or contagious may carry a negative connotation. We’ve probably all had the experience of someone around us with ugly emotions ruining a perfectly good time. Being around people who are happy, who are compassionate and kind, who like to giggle and roll on the floor in laughter, can also be contagious, increasing momentary or lingering joy.
Begin to pay close personal attention to those people that put you in a good mood, that keep their orbit of emotional contagion upbeat.
As you sit around your Thanksgiving table this holiday with the bounty of friends, family, delicious food for feasting, just start to break out in laughter, for no reason other than you are happy and grateful to be together in that moment with one another. I bet the whole table will join in.