You are contagious. And you are contagious. And you, and you, and you are contagious! (Ten points to you if you read that in an Oprah Winfrey voice.) Since you can share your infection, it’s up to you to spread it around. And for once – people actually want what you have. No need to cover your mouth, or call in sick to work, because if you do, you won’t be able to share it.
Of course, we’re speaking of a contagious smile. An infectious laugh. Contagious joy. Contagious energy. These are the things worth sharing. And they take little to no effort on your part, and they are free to friends, family, and even strangers! Best of all – these kinds of contagious things can create an epidemic that spreads to people beyond the ones you come in direct contact with. Let’s discuss the best strategies for sharing.
“Cover your mouth when you cough. Never cover it when you smile.” ~Author Unknown
Have you ever noticed that when you’re walking down the street or in a store, if you receive a smile, you tend to involuntarily smile back? Smiles, like yawns, are truly contagious. There’s a lot of boring science behind it, but the simplified version is this: when you receive a smile, your brain automatically mimics the response in an effort to understand the facial expression. The result is that you automatically feel an uplift in your own emotional control panel because you’ve recognized a smile as a reaction that is associated with a positive feeling. Now, isn’t that worth sharing a smile for? (If you want to read the boring explanation, feel free to look up Paula Niedenthal and Adrienne Wood’s paper from the University of Wisconsin – “Trends in Cognitive Sciences.)
“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” ~Victor Borge
When they say laughter is the best medicine, they aren’t kidding. Laughter releases endorphins and also helps decrease stress. So when you share laughter with others, you’re actually helping them be healthier people. Scientists have even proven that laughter can relieve pain in patients. Other benefits include calories burned, relaxation, and a boost to the immune system. So get out the joke book and share some laughs. Snorting is optional.
“Joy is portable. Bring it with you.” ~Author Unknown
There is a great difference between “happiness” and “joy,” yet our world tends to lump them in the same category. Happiness is external – it’s motivated by people, places, or things. Our joy, however, isn’t defined by our circumstances but is rooted within. It’s a peace that envelops us, even if we are in the middle of tragedy and despair. For many, joy is the side effect of a deep and personal faith. However, it also comes down to choice. For every obligation and task we face, we have a choice about how we’ll approach it. Will we whine and complain, or approach it joyfully as an opportunity to do a good job and recognize the benefits (however much of a stretch they may be)? Joyful people are a magnet for others. People gravitate towards their positive approach to every challenge. It doesn’t mean that things are easier for joyful people, but it means they’ve found ways not to let the difficulties bring them down.
“Energy is contagious. Either you affect people, or you infect people.” ~T. Harv Eker
As the title of the book implies, Jon Gordon’s “The Energy Bus,” speaks a lot about the impact of both positive and negative energy on productivity. As great as this book is, you don’t need to read it to know that being around people who are positive, optimistic, hopeful, and excited tends to attract better results than those who are negative, disdainful, and in general, emotionally draining. That’s just common sense. If you’re looking to build up friends, practice positive, contagious energy and watch them line up. People want positive energy. They are attracted to it and energized by it.
That’s it. Spread a smile, a kind word, a positive thought, share a laugh, and watch the impact that extends beyond any reach you could have imagined!