Apparently germs are not the only thing we can worry about “catching.” Recent studies have determined that emotions are also infectious! According to social contagion observations, we humans are affected (infected) by behaviors, moods, and outlooks that spread from person to person…. Though we think we are in control of our own well-being, medical research in 2014 reveals that choices and traits our friends exhibit—and even their friends’ display—have a powerful effect on us. Three discoveries:

Negative Thinking

Randomly selected freshmen who were paired with roommates highly prone to “brooding” were likely to “catch” their negative thinking in less than three months…. (University of Notre Dame study)  Insight:  People we know  may influence how we respond to life’s challenges. (Travis Stork, MD, cohost of The Doctors)

Positive Thinking

A word of encouragement: On the opposite side, positive feelings also “rub off.” A parallel research study of close to 5,000 people at Harvard and the University of California, (San Diego), revealed that when a person “feels happy,” a friend within one mile is over 25% more likely to feel happy, and their neighbors about 34% more likely to feel happy. The same data found that a significant amount of money registered a much lower “happiness” impact (2%) on a person than the influence of a joyful friend (10%).

Stress Awareness

In addition, the brain is hardwired to detect stress signals in other people. Such observations about persons around us apparently trigger a “cascade” of our own stress hormones. (Heidi Hanna, Stressaholic). According to this executive coach, you don’t even need to be in the same room to catch someone else’s stress, in our age of electronic communication.

So—“What’s in your wallet?”  I mean—“what are you passing on?”