Social Contagion

As I write this article, my senses are confused, and my battery is draining a little bit more quickly with heavy wet snow falling after such a gorgeous weekend of sun and warm temperatures.  Even a change in weather can impact how we are feeling and our feelings can then affect others.  This is called social contagion.

Dr Bill Howatt of Howatt HR, says a person or even a group of people can influence our emotions and affect our behavior.  This transfer of emotion can happen consciously or unconsciously.  This often occurs as a result of our mirror neurons and happens as part of our survival instincts.

Emotions can be transferred from our partners, leaders, friends, family, media, the people around us and co-workers.  These emotions can be transferred through social media posts, gestures, smells, word choices, facial expressions, voice tones, and our rate of speech.

Emotional contagion can have a negative impact on our health such as:

  • the increase risk for heart disease,
  • increased stress levels,
  • increased anger,
  • increased risk of depression and anxiety,
  • increased isolation,
  • increased risk of respectful workplace issues, and
  • increased fear.


Emotional contagion can also have a positive impact on our health and well-being such as:

  • being more cooperative,
  • increased perceived competency,
  • increased creativity,
  • increased energy,
  • increased happiness,
  • lower levels of stress, and
  • increased performance.


We can technically see ourselves in others based on the emotions we project.

  • What do you see?
  • How do you show up for work on the farm?
  • What is life like at home?
  • Who do you think is the biggest influence in your life circle?
  • Who in your life circle has the biggest impact on your emotions?

These thought-provoking questions, may lead to an update of your Mental Fitness Plan.

Think about what you can do to project more positive emotions unto others?

Can this help everyone charge their batteries?



  1. In The Know: Mental Health Literacy Training

    May 5 @ 9:30 am - 2:30 pm
  2. In The Know: Mental Health Literacy Training

    June 9 @ 9:30 am - 2:30 pm

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