Emotional contagions!

Hi ya, welcome to my abode dear friend, I have a lovely cuppa & treat ready for our time together. Our topic for today’s reflection is Other’s emotions that can become extremely contagious…

It has been raining & cold here for days so the best spot for our reflection is indoors, we have moved our living room furniture around so as to allow more light through our full length windows, as a 3 seater sofa was blocking a great deal of natural light from entering.

I have our tray of goodies resting on the coffee table… Now we are seated in our  brighter living room let’s begin reflecting upon these emotional contagions.

I’ll set the scene for you to give you an example of what I mean…

You are spending the weekend with a friend, you have jointly rented a two bedroom ground floor beachside holiday apartment…you have had a delightful time chatting, eating, catching up & enjoying time together. You are now off to your respective beds for much needed sleep as it has been a long road trip to meet up midway between states.

You’re feeling peaceful as you go through your bedtime routine looking forward to the nice soft bed that is in this holiday apartment as you discovered last time. You have brought a novel that you have been longing to read. You just settle into reading in the big comfy bed. All seems right with the world in that moment.

Then the serenity is broken with a loud noise, followed by your friend knocking on the door…fear & anxiety is on her face as you open it…she thinks there’s a man outside banging on her Window!

Having heard the loud noise yourself, you know something is going on…though her fear & anxiety is permeating the atmosphere…You don’t want it to affect you but you send a little prayer up as you walk gingerly to her room to investigate with her hot on your heels.

You turn her bedroom light off so you can get a good line of sight once you peek through the closed blinds. But before you do another loud bang pierces the silence of the room, startling you both!

This time your heart starts to beat a little faster, your friend by this time is shaking with fear & anxiety clearly heard in her whispers…But you’re determined to get to the bottom of this…

You peek through the blinds…the inky blackness of the wintery night makes it difficult for your eyes to adjust, then another loud bang, you’re sure your friend is ready to pass out…

As your eyes adjust you see the shadowy shape of the perpetrator close to the Window, he’s huge…your heart is beating faster now… he pulls back to bang on the Window again…allowing the light from the distant street lamp to shine upon him… revealing his identity…

It’s a young willow tree swaying in the wind, hitting the window with each blasting gust! You both giggle with relief! And your friend’s laughter is overlaid with nervous embarrassment.

Fear & anxiety causes one to envisage all types of scenarios that always jump to the worse case scenario!

light landscape sky sunset

Another’s fear & anxiety can be very contagious…If we allow it be! It is very unwise to enter their world of fearful & anxious imagings!

Though this can be particularly difficult when our loved one’s share their concerns, fears & anxieties with us which are founded in real life circumstances.

As you may know I have been working in Mental Health for many decades & I have the professional skill set to be able to help those whose lives have been impacted by fears, anxieties & depression.

But when it comes to my loved ones, because I don’t wear my professional hat with them it can be quite challenging…as I shared in Concern, worry & anxiety…

But there are certain steps we can take that greatly help…

  • We can listen
  • We can validate their concerns…

Every one likes to be heard & validated, not dismissed. We don’t need to enter their fears, anxieties or worse case scenarios to validate their real concerns.

We just need to show them love in that their concerns are real & that the situation is truly concerning for them. And to recognize that the way they’re feeling is emotionally impacting.

But we can also offer love, support & of course that listening ear over a cuppa. Thus in sharing with us a lightening of their load happens. They have been able to off load an emotional burden which helps them to go & address their situation with a clearer emotional state!

Helping another to share their burden does not mean taking it completely over. There is a distinction between helping to lighten a load & taking it over for them!

Jesus said, “Help one another, bearing [having enduring compassion for] one another’s burdens…” Galatians 6:2

Other ways we can help lighten the load…

  • We may have wisdom to share having gone through a similar experience.
  • We can also offer to pray with them (if they’re open to this) or we can remember them in our own time of prayer. Do not under estimate the power of prayer my friend!

Please note, if your friend or loved one has fears, anxieties & depression that have overtaken their life & need professional help please encourage them to seek it as soon as possible.

I try to be my family’s cheer leader, as life can be very discouraging at times but having a listening ear & someone to validate their concerns, cheering them on as they attempt to navigate this world…can be a great source of encouragement.

Do you listen & validate your loved one’s concerns or do you tend to invalidate them?

Until next time,

Jennifer

 

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24 thoughts on “Emotional contagions!

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  1. It’s so true that just being heard allows a release in our mind. My mentor has been that for me so many times! Allowing others to share their pain and burden’s is like a calling that’s dear to my heart. In my personal life I try to be that person for others. Then, in my work it’s my job to listen and guide, in being a Hope Coach for a crisis chat line. I really like how you have explained this emotional contagion! #faithandfriends linkup

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jennifer, listening and validating concerns are crucial to someone who is emotionally distraught. The story you shared was a perfect example, I have to say I was relieved it was a willow! Thank you for your wisdom and your most helpful writings! Blessings always…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennifer, I loved this post! You are so right – we do allow others’ fear to infect us. Anxieties too. I have lived this more than once. Usually, if I give myself enough time, I can act rationally and calmly, but my initial reaction is to “catch” the fear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree another’s fear & anxiety can be extremely infectious Laurie, it’s wise to step back before we catch it…& hear what their concerns are to then be able to validate.
      Especially if we know that the Other has fears & anxiety on a regular basis…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So true, just being able to be heard when you are in distress is very healing. The ability to sit and really listen and be supportive to someone in distress is truly a gift. I have been in both at times in my life and it does take strength to not let yourself get too involved in someone else’s anxiety. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree, it’s very easy to be impacted by others’ anxieties, but taking the time to listen to them and validate them is so important. Even if we can’t change anything it helps a lot for them to know they’ve been heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was the child growing up that let my imagination turn fear into something that was bigger than it was. My dad was my calm voice of reason. He did validate me and listened well even in the middle of the night. I have learned over the years how to do this for my own sons. Many times they really crave just to be heard. Thank you for such a good post today.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oooh this is very insightful – thank you for this! Fear can be just as contagious as a yawn… and like others have mentioned, I’m definitely prone to try to sweep in and solve everything rather than just listen first. Something for me to work on, for sure.

    Thank you for this great post. x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well done! We have an autistic son and have learned how valuable validating his emotions can be in helping redirect those emotions.
    I think this is also very important for us women who can sometimes feel a bit at the mercy of our emotions.

    Liked by 1 person

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